Joe Biden warned of a “dangerous autumn” Wednesday in Wilmington due to research showing a spike in COVID-19 deaths that could come in November, and took aim at President Donald Trump’s recent comments on his handling of the coronavirus.
“I trust vaccines,” Biden said during his remarks at The Queen. “I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump, and the American people can’t either.
Earlier this week, Biden called a Trump a “climate arsonist” during a speech in Wilmington, arguing that four more years of a Trump administration would devastate the country and its environment.
Just a few hours before his remarks on Wednesday, Biden received a briefing from public health experts, several of whom worked in the Obama administration.
The federal government released a plan Wednesday to make COVID-19 vaccines free and available to all Americans. In the plan, federal health agencies and the Defense Department described plans for a vaccination plan to begin in January or later this year.
Here in Delaware, the state is experiencing its highest rate of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-July. As of of Sept. 16, there have been 19,137 cases and 618 deaths, according to state data.
The young adult demographic – people between the ages of 18-34 – continues to see the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the state.
In his speech, Biden criticized the comments Trump made during a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The president was asked about his interview with journalist Bob Woodward in which Trump said he knew the coronavirus was more deadly than the flu, but he chose to liken the two so the American public would not panic.
“Well, I didn’t downplay it,” Trump said during the town hall. “I actually, in many ways, I up played it terms of action.”
Trump also caused some confusion during the town hall when he attacked Biden for not following through on his pledge to create a mask mandate to control the spread of the virus, despite the former vice president not currently holding office.
Biden took shots at this during his remarks on Wednesday, in which he laughed, leaned into the microphone and whispered: “I’m not the president. He’s the president.”
The candidate said his legal team believes that, as president, he could have the authority to institute this mandate. But since it is not clear, Biden said he would call all the governors to the White House and implore them to make their residents wear face coverings.
Biden said he is more “hopeful than ever in the power of science” to create a vaccine.
But the American people can only trust a vaccine created under the current administration, Biden said, if Trump gives “honest answers” on its safety and effectiveness, as well as how it will be fairly distributed.
The former vice president, who took reporters’ questions for about 15 minutes, said he would rely on scientific experts about who should have first access to the vaccines. This will likely be doctors, nurses and first responders, and then those who are the most susceptible to the virus.
“Scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does,” Biden said in his speech. “They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles.”