Joe Biden warned a ‘dark winter’ is ahead as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic and awaits a vaccine.
The president-elect spoke about the pandemic-devastated economy after holding a virtual meeting with CEOs and labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
‘We’re all agreed that we want to get the economy back on track. We need our workers to get back to the job and that means getting the virus under control,’ he said.
‘We’re going into a very dark winter. Things are going to get tougher before it gets easier,’ he warned as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the United States. There have been more than 11 million cases of the disease in the United States and the average daily rate is more than 100,000.
Joe Biden warned a ‘dark winter’ is ahead as the nation battles the coronavirus
Biden also called on President Donald Trump’s administration to give his transition team access to their plan to distribute a COVID vaccine.
‘The sooner we have access to the administration’s distribution plan, the sooner this transition will smoothly move forward,’ he said.
‘More people may die if we don’t coordinate,’ he added, pointing out ‘if we have to wait until January 20th to start that plan, it puts us behind a month.’
The formal transition process is stalled amid President Trump’s refusal to concede the election to his Democratic rival. The General Services Administration is the agency that formally begins the transfer of power but it’s chief, appointed by Trump, has refused to start the process.
Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris spoke about the virus and the economy as stocks soared following drugmaker Moderna’s announcement its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective based on preliminary data.
‘I wouldn’t hesitate to get the vaccine but I also want to set an example,’ Biden said when asked if he’d take one once it’s approved.
Ahead of their speeches, the two met with business and labor leaders to discuss the economic recovery, including Trumka, Barra, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Microsoft President Satya Nadella, UAW President Rory Gamble, Target CEO Brian Cornell, UFCW President Marc Perrone, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and GAP CEO Sonia Synga.
And, the Democrat warned: ‘Unions are going to have increased power.’
‘I said I want you to know I’m a union guy,’ he said of his conversation with them. Unions will have increased power. It’s not antibusiness. It’s about economic growth, creating good paying jobs.’
He also called on Congress to come together and pass COVID relief legislation.
“Right now, Congress should come together and pass a Covid relief package like the HEROES Act,” he said, referring to the legislation passed by the Democratic House.
Talks are stalled between the Trump White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill about another COVID relief package and several states have started to institute new restrictions as coronavirus cases are on the rise.
Joe Biden will present his economic plan during a speech in Wilmington on Monday
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris receive virtual briefing on the economy with their economic advisers
Biden’s Build Back Better economic recovery plan would spend over $7 trillion on initiatives such as infrastructure, which includes the creation of 10 million clean-energy jobs, and on housing, education, economic fairness and health care.
But any economic plan would seen through the lens of the coronavirus-recession. There have been more than 10 million infections in the United States and the rate is reaching more than 100,000 infections per day.
President Trump, meanwhile, refuses to concede to his Democratic rival even as his lawsuits in key battleground states have failed and his campaign has turned up no evidence of voter fraud.
‘I won the Election!’ Trump tweeted Monday morning, again falsely claiming victory. Twitter posted a disclaimer on his Tweet, writing: ‘Official sources called this election differently.’
Biden holds 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 – the same margin Trump won by in 2016 when he declared a ‘landslide’ victory over Hillary Clinton. Biden also leads in the popular vote by at least 5.5 million votes with ballots still being counted.
The official transition process hasn’t started yet amid the president’s refusal to yield.
Biden’s incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday that the delay in starting the process could result in a delay in distributing a COVID vaccine.
‘We now have the possibility, we need to see if it gets approved, of a vaccine starting perhaps in December, January. There are people at [the Department of Health and Human Services] making plans to implement that vaccine,’ he said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ ‘Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power.’
President Trump holds a fist up to his supporters cheering from off the course on Sunday; he continues to insist he won the election
Meanwhile, the stock market is up after Moderna announced its promising news on a COVID vaccine – making it the second U.S. company in a week to report results that far exceed expectations.
Moderna was part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program. And, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute.
The U.S. government has already bought 100 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 50 million Americans given people need to have two shots.
Trump reacted to the news by tweeting: ‘Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!’
And Biden praised the news while cautioning Americans to still practice social distancing and wearing masks.
‘Today’s news of a second vaccine is further reason to feel hopeful. What was true with the first vaccine remains true with the second: we are still months away. Until then, Americans need to continue to practice social-distancing and mask-wearing to get the virus under control,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
Stock market rose on news from Moderna of the strong preliminary data from its COVID vaccine trials
Pfizer announced a week ago that its own COVID-19 vaccine was 90 percent effective – news that puts both companies on track to get FDA authorization within weeks for emergency use in the United States.
Moderna expects it to be stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 36 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days and it can be stored for up to 6 months at -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 94F, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctic winter. At standard refrigerator temperatures, it can be stored for up to five days.