Washington: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged that if elected as president in the November 3 election, he will ensure free COVID-19 vaccination for all Americans, laying out his pandemic response plan just days before the US presidential polls.
In a major policy speech on the coronavirus in his home state of Delaware, Biden on Friday flayed US President Donald Trump for his policies to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 220,000 people and has had a devastating impact on the country’s economy.
“President Trump said we’re rounding the corner, it’s going away, we’re learning to live with it. They are quotes. But as I told him last night, we’re not learning to live with it. We’re learning to die with it. This is a dark winter ahead,” Biden, 77, said.
Already more than 220,000 people in the US have lost their lives to this virus. Worse yet, a new study from Columbia University suggests that anywhere between 130,000 and 210,000 of those deaths were avoidable, he said.
“Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it has to be free to everyone, whether or not you’re insured,” the former vice president said.
He said that if elected, he would direct the federal government to “bulk-purchase as many doses as necessary of the COVID-19 vaccine so we can provide it free to those who are uninsured, under-insured or Medicaid-eligible.”
“COVID-19 dwarfs anything we’ve faced in recent history and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The virus is surging in almost every state. We passed 4.8 million cases. And when Trump was asked this week what he’d do differently to get the pandemic response right from the start his answer was and I quote, ‘Not much. Not much.’,” he said.
Alleging that Trump does not have a plan to fight the coronavirus, Biden said the longer he is the president, the “more reckless” he gets.
“We don’t have to be held prisoner by this administration’s failures. We can choose a different path. We can do what Americans have always done: come together and meet the challenge with grit, compassion, and determination,” he said.
Revealing his plan, Biden said he would immediately put in place a national strategy that will position the country to finally get ahead of this virus and get back the lives.
Biden said he will ask the new Congress to put a bill on his desk by the end of January with all the resources necessary to see how both the public health and economic response can be seen through the end what is needed.
Biden said he will go to every governor and urge them to mandate wearing masks in their states.
“And if they refuse, I’ll go to the mayors and county executives and get local masking requirements in place nationwide,” he said, adding that as president he will mandate mask-wearing at all federal buildings and all interstate transportation.
“Because masks save lives,” he said, adding that he will put a national testing plan in place with a goal of testing as many people each day as they are currently testing each week.
Describing this as a Biden-Harris agenda, he said that it is going to take all Americans working together. “And that’s not hyperbole, all of us working together, watching out for one another. We’re all still going to have to wear a mask or practise social distancing a while longer. It’s going to be hard,” he said.
“But if we follow the science and keep faith with one another, I promise you, we’ll get through this and come out the other side much faster than the rate we’re going now. Look, you all know this. The American people have always given their best to this country in times of crisis. And this time isn’t any different,” he said.