Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a response to President Donald Trump's Oval Office address on the coronavirus. Biden announced a plan to combat Coronavirus and urged viewers to go to JoeBiden.com to see it. Biden called for the restoration of the trust in American government to handle pandemics. Biden said people should be tested at no charge and it is a failure of planning and execution not to do so. He said by next week testing should be in the millions and not in the thousands.
"Our ability to drive a global response is dramatically undercut by the damage Trump has done to our credibility," Biden said.
JOE BIDEN: Good afternoon. My fellow Americans today across the nation, many of us are feeling anxious about the spread of the COVID-19 known as the coronavirus and the threat it poses to our health, our loved ones, our families, our livelihoods, you know I know people are worried. My thoughts are with those who are directly fighting this virus, those infected, families that have suffered a loss, first responders, and healthcare providers who are putting themselves on the line as I speak for others.
I would like to thank those who are already making sacrifices to protect us whether that is self-quarantine--self-quarantining themselves or canceling events and closing campuses because whether or not you are affected or know someone who is infected or have been in contact with an infected person this is going to require a national--a national response, not just from our elected leaders or our public health officials but from all of us. We must all of us follow guidelines of the health officials and take appropriate protections to protect ourselves and--and critically to protect others, especially those who are most at risk for this disease.
It is going to mean making some radical changes in our personal behaviors, more frequent and more thorough hand washing, staying home from work if you are ill but also altering deeply ingrained habits in our country like handshakes and hugs, avoiding large public gatherings. That is why earlier this week, on the recommendation of officials, my campaign canceled election night rallies that we had planned to hold in Cleveland, Ohio. We are also reimagining the format for large crowd events we had planned in Chicago and Miami in the coming days, and we will continue to assess and adjust how we conduct our campaign as we move forward and find new ways to share our message with the public while putting health and safety of the American people first above everything else.
Yesterday we announced a public health advisory committee of experts who will continue to counsel my campaign and me, help guide our decisions on the steps to minimize further risks but we also we will lead by science. The World Health Organization now has officially--officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Downplaying it, being overly dismissive, or spreading misinformation is only going to hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease, but neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken thus far by the Trump administration.
Let me be crystal clear. The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation. It will infect Republicans, independents and Democrats alike. It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or ZIP Code. It will touch people in positions of power as well as the most vulnerable in our society, and it will not stop. Banning all travel from Europe or any other part of the world may slow it but as we have seen it will not stop it and travel restrictions based on favoritism and politics rather than risks will be counterproductive.
This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet. We need to plan about how we are going to aggressively manage here at home. You know--you all do know the American people have the capacity to meet this moment. We are going to face this with the same spirit that has guided us and through previous crises, and we will come together as a nation. We will look out for one another and do our part as citizens.
We have--we have to be--we have to harness the ingenuity of our sciences and the resourcefulness of our people, and we have to help the world--help the world to drive coordinated global strategy, not shut ourselves off from the world. Protecting the health and safety of the American people is the most important job of any president, and unfortunately, this virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration. Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this president fueled by adversarial relationships with the truth that he continues to have.
Our government's ability to respond effectively has been undermined by hollowing out our agencies and disparagement of science, and our ability to drive a global response is dramatically--dramatically undercut by the damage Trump has done to our credibility and our relationships around the world.
We have to get to work immediately to dig ourselves out of this hole, and that is why today, I am releasing a plan to combat and overcome the coronavirus. The full details of the plan to go--if you want to see them go to JoeBiden.com where I lay out the immediate steps we have to take to deliver one, decisive public health response to curb the spread of disease and to provide treatment to those who need it and a decisive economic response that delivers real relief to American workers, families and small businesses and protects the economy as a whole. I offer it as a roadmap not for what I will do as president ten months from now but for the leadership that I believe is needed and required at this very moment. President Trump is welcome to adopt all of it today.
The core principle is simple; public health professionals must be the ones making our public health decisions and communicating with the American public. Public health professionals. It would be a step toward reclaiming public trust and confidence in the United States government as well towards stopping the fear and chaos that can overtake communities faster than this pandemic can overtake them and it is critical to mounting an effective national response that will save lives, protect our frontline health workers, slow the spread of the virus.
First, anyone--anyone who needs to be tested based on medical guidance should be tested at no charge, at no charge. The administration's failure on testing is colossal, and it's a failure of planning, leadership, and execution. The White House should measure and report each day, each and every day, how many tests have been ordered, how many tests have been completed, and how many have tested positive. By next week the number of tests should be in the millions, not the thousands.
We should make every person in a nursing home available for testing. Every senior center or vulnerable population has to have easy access to the test, and we should establish hundreds of mobile testing sites, at least 10 per state and drive-through testing centers to see testing and protect the health of our workers. These CDC, private labs, universities, and manufacturers should be working lock step to get this done and get it done correctly.
No effort should be spared, none. No excuses should be made. Tests should be available to all who need them and the government, the government should stop at nothing to make that happen. We must know the true extent of this outbreak so we can map it, trace it, and contain it. Nor should we hide the true number of infections in hopes of protecting political interests or the stock market. The markets will respond strong to strong, steady and capable leadership that addresses the root of the problem, not efforts to cover it up.
Secondly, we need to surge our capacity to both prevent and treat the coronavirus and prepare our hospitals to deal with this influx of those needing care, as I have been saying for weeks. This means not just getting out the testing kits and processing them quickly but making sure communities have the hospital beds available, the staff, the medical supplies, the personal protective equipment necessary to treat the patients. The president should order FEMA to prepare the capacity with local authorities to establish temporary hospitals with hundreds of beds on short notice.
The Department of Defense should be planning now, should have been planning--planning to prepare for the potential deployment of the resources provided medical facility capacity, and logistics support that only they can do. In a week from now, a month from now, we (INAUDIBLE) 500-bed hospital to isolate and treat patients in any city in this country. We can do that, but we are not ready yet, and the clock is ticking.
As we take the steps, state, federal, and local authorities needs to ensure that there is accurate, up-to-date information available to every American citizen, to everyone so everyone can make an informed decision about when to get tested, went to self-quarantine, when to seek medical treatment, and the federal government should provide states and municipalities with clear guidance about when to trigger more aggressive mitigation policies such as closing schools.
Thirdly, we need to accelerate the development and treatment of the vaccine. Science takes time. It will still be many months before we have a vaccine that can be proven safe for public use and reduce and produced in sufficient quantities to make a difference. But therapeutics can and should come sooner. This will save lives.
When we--when I put together and we pass to the Cures Act of 2016 to accelerate work on the national--at the National Institute of Health, but now, it has to be made available--make available resources to speed up--speed the process along. We have to fast-track clinical trials of in NIH while closely coordinating with the FDA, the food and drug administration on trial approvals so that science is not hindered by the bureaucracy.
And when--and when a vaccine is ready to go, it should also be made widely available and, again, free of charge. We should also immediately restore the White House National Security Council directorate for global health security and bio defense with a full-time dedicated coordinator to oversee our--that response.
Our administration, our last administration, we created that office to better respond to future global threats after the Ebola crisis of 2014. It was designed for exactly this scenario. But for some reason, I still don't understand President Trump eliminated--eliminated that office two years ago. Look, here's the bottom line. We have to do what's necessary to beat the challenge, be this challenge sooner rather than later. We will beat it.
I assure you, if we wait for it to worsen, then scribble to catch up, the human and economic toll will grow faster, larger, and more dangerous. Congress gave this administration $8 billion last week to fight the virus. We need to know exactly what that money is going to be used for, how quickly it's going out the door and exactly how it's being spent.
This brings me to the second half of the challenge in terms of economic dislocation the coronavirus is going to cause in our country. We must do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes to deliver for our families and ensure the stability of our economy, taking immediate bold measures to help Americans who are hurting economically right this minute. It means we'll need bigger and broader measures to shore up the economic demand, protect jobs, keep credit flowing to our job creators, and make sure we have an economic firepower we need to weather the storm and get the people in this economy back to full strength as soon as possible.
This crisis is going to--will hit anyone, but it will hit folks who live paycheck to paycheck the hardest, including working people and seniors. Another tax cut to Google or Goldman, to millionaires won't get the job done. Another tax cut to these folks will not get the job done. Indiscriminate corporate tax subsidies will effectively target those who really need the help now.
We need to place our focus on those who are struggling just to get by. People are already losing jobs. We need to replace their wages. That includes workers in the gig economy who like unemployment insurance, parents who are already struggling in childcare costs. We need to give them relief. Children who rely on school lunches, we need to provide food for them.
Schools will need the help in ensuring children who don't have access--easy access to computers can still learn if their school is shut down. People who have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage because they been laid off or had their hours cut back, we need to help them stay in their apartments and their homes. Small business will be devastated as customers stay home and events are canceled and we need to make sure they have access to interest-free loans. Not loans with interest. Interest free loans.
It's a national disgrace that millions of our fellow citizens don't have a single day of paid sick leave available. We need both a permanent plan for paid sick leave, and an emergency plan for everyone who needs it due to the outbreak now. Beyond these national measures, my plan also calls for the creation of a state, local emergency fund to make sure governors, mayors, and local leaders who are battling the coronavirus on the ground as I speak have the resources necessary to meet this crisis had on now.
These funds can be used at the discretion of local leaders for whatever they need most from expanding critical health infrastructure, hiring additional healthcare and emergency service personnel, or cushioning the wider economic goals blows this virus is going to create in their communities. We need smart, bold, compassionate leadership that's going to help contain the crisis, reduce that hardship to our people and help our economy rebound.
Let me be very clear, unfortunately, this will just be a start. We must prepare now to take further decisive action, including relief that will be large in scale, focused on broader health and stability of our economy. Look, we can only protect the health of our economy if we do everything in our power to protect the health of our people.
The last point I want to make is this. We'll never fully solve this problem if we're unwilling to look beyond our own borders and engage fully with the rest of the world. A disease that starts anyplace in the planet can get on a plane any city on earth within a few hours. We have to confront the coronavirus everywhere. We should be leading a coordinated global response just as we did the Ebola crisis that draws on the incredible capability of U.S. agencies for international development and our State Department to--to assist vulnerable nations in detecting and treating the coronavirus wherever it's spreading.
We should be investing in rebuilding and strengthening the global health security agenda, which we launched during our administration specifically to mobilize the world against the threats of new infectious diseases. Look, it can be hard to see the concrete value of this work when everything seems to be going well in the world. But by cutting our investment in global health, this administration has left us woefully and prepared unprepared for the exact crisis we now face.
No president can promise to prevent future outbreaks but I can promise you this, when I'm president, we will be better prepared, respond better, and recover better. We'll lead with science, we'll listen to the experts, we'll heed their advice, and we'll build American leadership and rebuild it to rally the world to meet our global threats that we are likely to face again.
You know, it and I'll always tell you the truth. This is the responsibility of the president. That's what is owed the American people. Now in the difficult days ahead, I know that this country will some of the spirit, the empathy, the decency, and the unity needed because in times of crisis, the American people always, always stand as one have told the truth.
Volunteers raised their hands to help, neighbors lookout for neighbors, businesses take care of their workers, so we'll meet this challenge together. I'm confident of it. But we have to move and move now. Thank you all for taking the time to be here and God bless our troops. Thank you.