2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Friday he would be willing to implement a nationwide lockdown in response to the novel Wuhan coronavirus if White House advisors recommended the drastic measure.
“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told ABC News alongside his new vice presidential running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Biden condemned what he billed as the “fundamental flaw” in the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic: encouraging states to reopen before the virus has virtually disappeared. He did not address the problem of the nation and local areas lacking an economy to reopen if states wait for a vaccine that experts say may never come, or wait for constant and everpresent testing capabilities.
“I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said. “That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.”
The full ABC interview with the Democratic ticket is slated to air Sunday.
Biden’s endorsement of a potential nationwide shut down comes after Biden and Harris declared their support for a three-month federal mask mandate that would include individuals outdoors.
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,” Biden said. “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.”
Republicans are scheduled to hold their virtual convention next week.