Summary List Placement
Americans are already beginning to vote on who should lead the US’s pandemic response next year. More than 10.5 million ballots have been cast ahead of the November 3 election.
The country will get another chance to hear from President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden about their plans to address the pandemic on Thursday night. The candidates are appearing at dueling town halls: ABC is airing an event with Biden in Philadelphia at 8 p.m. ET, while NBC will simultaneously air a town hall with Trump in Miami.
The electorate already knows how Trump has handled the pandemic thus far: Vaccine development is now racing ahead and the US has significantly ramped up testing since the spring, but the administration was initially painfully slow to distribute tests to states and personal protective equipment.
Trump has also been criticized for ignoring and contradicting top public-health experts. The president has suggested that masks are voluntary and pushed states to reopen quickly. His administration at one point updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to suggest that testing asymptomatic people wasn’t necessary, despite knowledge that asymptomatic individuals fuel transmission.
Biden, by contrast, emphasizes his desire to let scientists to lead the federal coronavirus response. He has championed mask wearing and promised to further expand contact tracing and at-home testing.
Biden and Trump agree on many key points, though: namely, that a vaccine should be free for all Americans. Biden also plans to set aside emergency funding for K-12 education and loans for small businesses during the pandemic — actions Trump has already taken.
Here’s a rundown of how Biden’s coronavirus plan compares to Trump’s actions so far:
‘The devil is in the details’
Vice President Mike Pence levied several criticisms against Biden’s coronavirus plan at the vice presidential debate earlier this month.
“When you look at the Biden plan, it reads an awful lot like what President Trump and I and our task force have been doing every step of the way,” Pence said. “And quite frankly, when I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new PPE, developing the vaccine — it looks a little bit like plagiarism.”
The candidates do share some priorities, but public-health experts say they differ in their execution strategies.
“The devil is in the details,” Dr. Leana Wen, a public-health professor at George Washington University and the former health commissioner of Baltimore, told Business Insider. For example, she said, “it’s not just a matter of the right to get a test — it’s also the ability to get a test.”
Experts say Trump’s aggressive push to reopen schools and downplay the threat of the virus contradicted expert guidance, including the White House’s own safety criteria for reopening.
“A lot of people agreed those [criteria] were very good, but the confusion was that, in my opinion, there wasn’t a clear message from the top once those were directed. And, in fact, Trump himself seemed to undermine them,” Marissa Levine, a public-health professor at the University of …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics