'More people may die of COVID-19 with no vaccine distribution plan': Biden asks Trump to aid smooth federal handoff

The president-elect sharpened his criticism of the incumbent's refusal to cooperate and said that it could have deadly consequences as the nation grappled with a COVID-19 spike

The Associated Press November 17, 2020 08:50:59 IST
'More people may die of COVID-19 with no vaccine distribution plan': Biden asks Trump to aid smooth federal handoff

President-elect Joe Biden. AP

Wilmington: US President-elect Joe Biden expressed frustration Monday over Donald Trump's refusal to cooperate on the White House transition process, saying "more people may die" of coronavirus without immediate coordination on fighting the surging pandemic.

Biden was declared winner of the 3 November election but Trump has not conceded, and his administration has so far failed to formally acknowledge the veteran Democrat as the president-elect.

That leaves Biden and his team unable to coordinate with government officials on crucial continuity of issues like national security, but also on emergencies like a distribution plan for COVID-19 vaccines to tens of millions of Americans.

Biden was asked a press conference about the greatest threat from Trump's obstruction of a smooth transfer of power and said that "more people may die if we don't coordinate" on distributing vaccines as quickly as possible.

"If we have to wait until (inauguration day) 20 January to start that planning, it puts us behind for a month, a month and a half," Biden told reporters in his home town of Wilmington in Delaware.

"And so it's important that it be done, that there be coordination now."

Several experts including former Trump administration officials have warned that the outgoing president's refusal to cooperate on the transition while he challenges election results in court could have devastating consequences as the nation grapples with COVID-19 spikes.

The United States added one million new cases in less than a week, a dizzying rise to more than 11 million confirmed infections and 246,000 American deaths, a global high.

Trump health advisor Scott Atlas, who has no relevant experience or qualifications in public health or infectious disease, has urged people in Michigan to "rise up" against COVID-19 measures rather than engage in an all-hands-on-deck effort to defeat the pandemic.

"What the hell is the matter with these guys?" Biden said. "It's totally irresponsible."

His comments came as biotech firm Moderna announced that its experimental vaccine was 94.5 percent effective.

Biden said he himself would take the vaccine, or another being developed by Pfizer, if experts like top immunologist Anthony Fauci declared them safe.

"I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine if, in fact, Dr Fauci and these two organizations - whether it's Moderna or Pfizer, who have been extremely responsible - conclude that it is safe and able to be done," Biden said.

"The only reason people question the vaccine now is because of Donald Trump," added Biden, who turns 78 on Friday.

He stressed that it appeared the vaccines are "on a clear path" towards safe usage. "They appear to be ready for prime time, ready to be used, and if that continues along that road, I would take the vaccine."

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Joe Biden formally designated apparent winner of 3 Nov election by GSA administrator
World

Joe Biden formally designated apparent winner of 3 Nov election by GSA administrator

Most of Donald Trump’s Republican allies had stood by his side as he attempted to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 3 November election

Donald Trump is maligning the incoming Biden administration by reviving a German stab-in-the-back myth
World

Donald Trump is maligning the incoming Biden administration by reviving a German stab-in-the-back myth

The word Dolchstosslegende is hard to pronounce but important to understand. It translates as “stab-in-the-back myth” and was a key element in the revival of German militarism in the Weimar years

Milwaukee County vote recount ends with Joe Biden adding 132 votes to his margin
World

Milwaukee County vote recount ends with Joe Biden adding 132 votes to his margin

The US president-elect won Wisconsin by nearly 20,600 votes, and his margin in Milwaukee and Dane counties was about 2-to-1