Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday seemed to backtrack on comments made two weeks ago that he would shut down the country to combat COVID-19.
Biden in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir on Aug. 21 said he would follow the advice of scientists to shut down the country if the combination of the virus and the flu created a severe crisis in 2021.
"I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives. Because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus," Biden told Muir. "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."
When Muir pressed whether he would shut down the country if the scientists advised him to do so, Biden responded, "I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists."
But Biden on Thursday told reporters there will likely be no need for a shutdown.
"There's going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy," he said.
"I got asked by David Muir a question, if I was asked to shut everything down. I took that as a generic question if — am I going to follow the science? I am going to insist, and I insist now, without any authority, that every responsible person in this country, when they're out in public or not, with the cohort that they have lived with — because they know they haven't spread it to their husband, wife, etc. — that they wear a mask."
President Donald Trump has used Biden’s words as ammunition during his speeches.
In his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Trump said, "Instead of following the science, Joe Biden wants to inflict a painful shutdown on the entire country, “ which would cause" health problems, like alcohol addiction and depression, and "economic devastation.”
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