Democratic presidential hopeful former US vice president Joe Biden participates in the 11th … [+]
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Topline: In a New York Times op-ed, former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden authored a nearly 1,000 word “plan to safely reopen America,” which, in sum, criticizes the Trump administration’s strategy to tackle the virus, and states priority for mass testing, PPE for healthcare workers and a preventative vaccine.
- Biden echoes what many healthcare experts are urging as a strategy for reopening the U.S., writing that it should be gradually done, with collaboration from top private sector executives, and should involve widespread testing with privacy-protected contact tracing and reinforcement of the healthcare system to handle a “resurgence” of cases once the economy is open again.
- Biden says the most urgent goal is reducing: “the number of new cases of the disease down significantly” by social distancing and providing supplies to frontline workers, criticizing Trump’s efforts to provide personal protective equipment as “lagging.”
- The second issue, according to Biden, is “widespread, easily available and prompt testing—and a contact tracing strategy that protects privacy,” an initiative that should include rapid serology tests to identify coronavirus survivors; Biden calls Trump’s failure to effectively test the “original sin.”
- The “only complete solution,” according to Biden is “finding a vaccine to extinguish the threat [coronavirus] poses.”
- Biden’s proposal stands in contrast to President Trump’s strategy for reopening the economy, which the president says will involve a second coronavirus task force to reach a decision “fairly soon,” though Trump has not yet to put forth a comprehensive plan.
- Trump stated he wants to reopen the economy using a combination of “facts and instincts,” though Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert cautioned against doing so “prematurely” in a Sunday CNN interview.
Critical quote: “For more Americans to go back to their jobs, the president needs to do better at his job,” says Biden.
Key Background: Biden leads over Trump by a narrow margin of 53% to 42% as the 2020 presidential pick in an early April CNN poll, with respondents favoring Biden on the urgent issues of coronavirus (52% to 42%) and healthcare (57% to 39%) while favoring Trump on the economy (50% to 46%). A Friday Rasmussen Reports poll found that 43% of likely votes approve of Trump’s job performance and 56% disapprove, a growing margin as coronavirus continues. Separately, Biden is facing sexual assault allegations by a former Senate Aide who last year accused him of inappropriate touching.