WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden signaled fighting the coronavirus pandemic will be a top priority for his administration and warned of a “dark winter” ahead in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Speaking from Wilmington Del., with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by his side, Biden made a direct appeal to all Americans to wear masks and take the virus seriously, a stark contrast from President Donald Trump, who mocked Biden on the campaign trail for wanting to listen to the scientists and wear a mask.
“The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing, and so is the need for bold action to fight this pandemic,” Biden said. “We are still facing a dark winter.”
Biden urged all Americans to take the politics out of the virus and wear a mask, saying it could save millions of lives, including someone close to them.
“We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democratic or Republican lives, American lives,” Biden said. “Please, I implore you, wear a mask.”
Biden’s press conference comes as Pfizer announced their COVID-19 vaccine may be 90 percent effective, based on early and incomplete test results. Biden called the news “positive news” but said the shot “will not be widely available for many months yet to come.”
The 10 minute speech was Biden’s best look yet at how he will deal with a health crisis, which will likely hit its peak as he gets ready to take office in January. He explained his plan in detail set the public expectations for a drawn-out, months-long campaign.
“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Biden. “It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”
Monday saw the grim announcement the nation passed 10 million cases and the virus re-surging in half the country. Hospitalizations are up in several states and deaths are beginning to rise in the hot spot zones.
“I will be making rapid testing widely available, and [build] a corps of contact tracers who will track and curb this disease while we prioritize getting vaccinations first to the most at-risk populations,” Biden said of his plan. I will provide clear and detailed guidance and providing the necessary resources for small businesses, schools, and child-care centers to reopen and operate safely and effectively.”