Taking the opportunity to criticize the Trump administration's response to the global coronavirus pandemic, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden unveiled his own plan to reopening America.
"As we prepare to reopen America, we have to remember what this crisis has taught us: The administration's failure to plan, to prepare, to honestly assess and communicate the threat to the nation led to catastrophic results," Biden wrote Sunday in an opinion piece for The New York Times. "We cannot repeat those mistakes.
"We know what we have to do. We have the tools, expertise and, now, hard-won experience. The American people have already paid too high a price in illness, death and economic loss. This time, the White House has to get it right."
Even Biden admits Trump's desire to get Americans back to work has to happen before a vaccine is readily available.
"The plan has to start with responding effectively to the immediate medical crisis and ultimately lead to the widespread availability and administration of a vaccine," he wrote. "But we can't stay home and just wait for the vaccine to arrive. As others have noted, we need to build a bridge from here to there."
Here are three steps Biden proposes:
- "Get the number of new cases of the disease down significantly."
- "Widespread, easily available and prompt testing — and a contact tracing strategy that protects privacy."
- "Make sure that our hospitals and healthcare system are ready for flare-ups of the disease that may occur when economic activity expands again."
"Reopening the right way will still not be completely safe," Biden wrote. "Public health officials will need to conduct effective disease surveillance. Hospitals need to have the staff and equipment necessary to handle any local outbreaks, and we need an improved federal system to get help to these places as needed."
Ultimately, it is on the president and his team, according to Biden.
"For more Americans to go back to their jobs, the president needs to do better at his job," Biden wrote of Trump, adding rebukes of the coronavirus task force.
"We are now several months into this crisis, and still this administration has not squarely faced up to the 'original sin' in its failed response — the failure to test," Biden added.
There are structural changes needed across all businesses and industries, Biden concluded.
"If I were president, I would convene top experts from the private sector, industry by industry, to come up with new ideas on how to operate more safely, he wrote. "Perhaps offices and factories will need to space out workers and pursue other solutions to lessen risk of spread of the virus on the job. Restaurants may need new layouts, with diners farther apart.
"From my talks with some industry leaders, I know that many are already at work on these questions. Mr. Trump needs to accelerate this thinking and make sure it is available to all businesses — including small businesses, not just the largest companies."
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