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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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On Sunday former vice president Joe Biden, in an interview on ABC’s This Week, emphasized the importance of acting fast and taking measures to flatten the curve amid the pandemic. He also called for more iterations of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Biden’s comments come after President Donald Trump stated that the response to combat the spread of the virus should not “be worse than the problem itself.” Trump has repeatedly resisted declaring a nationwide stay at home order despite facing criticism and mounting pressure from public health experts. He claims that doing so would shut down the economy and thus severely damage the United States, resulting in businesses closing, people losing their jobs and strains on financial markets.
While Trump did recently extend the 15-day social distancing period to 30 days, following the guidelines for this is still voluntary.
However, it is important to be aware that Trump’s power is a lot more limited compared to other countries. Even though Trump declared a national emergency, due to the federalist system, governors have primary authority over handling lockdown measures in their states.
This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if he was concerned about Trump’s fear that “the cure is going to be worse than the disease,” and “isn’t there a point there that, if this lockdown goes on for too long, the public health concerns could be — could be grave?”
“Well, the public health concerns can be grave. And you saw what’s happening in Singapore. They moved very rapidly to bring down the coronavirus down to zero, and then they began to open up,” Biden said. “They had very, very tight restrictions in terms of social distancing, et cetera, staying in place. Now it’s coming back.”
On Apr. 5, Singapore confirmed 120 new coronavirus cases, the largest reported daily increase so far. Singapore currently has around 1,300 confirmed cases.
“We have to take all the efforts we can to make sure we prevent the spread, lower that curve as they talk about, and move from there,” Biden added.
Lowering the curve refers to slowing the speed of transmission, so cases occur over a gradual, longer period of time rather than a sudden surge that could overwhelm the healthcare system. Not only will this result in fewer deaths as all patients can be properly cared for, but it buys time to develop a vaccine as well, which Biden stressed is needed “most of all.”
During the interview, Biden also criticized Trump’s handling of the outbreak, telling Stephanopoulos that he is acting too slowly despite speed being vital in flattening the curve.
“You have to move swiftly. And we have to move more rapidly. You have to implement the Defense Production Act, empower a supply commander, create a Defense Production Act for banks that get out small business loans, ramp up testing, a whole range of things. You got to go faster than slower. And we started off awfully slow,” Biden explained.
Stephanopoulos questioned if Biden was suggesting that Trump was at fault for the rapidly rising case numbers and death toll in the United States.
“Well, look, what I have been saying is that he’s moving too slow. The virus is not his fault, but the response is his responsibility,” Biden remarked.
Biden then addressed that while the recent “CARES Act that the congress passed…did a great deal” at least “two more iterations of that” will be needed to “help the economy.”
His belief is similarly shared by others such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who last Friday said, “right now, I think we have a good model; it was bipartisan, it was signed by the president, but it’s not enough.”
The United States now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, at approximately 320,000, and this number continues to drastically grow.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a coronavirus task force team member, said today that they are “struggling to get it under control,” and he warned, “things are going to get bad and we need to be prepared for that.” Yet, he noted that “we should hope that within a week, maybe a little bit more, we’ll start to see a flattening out of the curve, and coming down.”
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