President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign focused heavily on his plan to contain the coronavirus, but what is Biden’s plan to end the coronavirus pandemic? With cases rising around the country and Biden preparing his transition to the White House, experts are weighing in.
Biden and Democrats have routinely criticized the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in terms of both messaging and policy. Democrats often criticized Trump and Republican allies for failing to put forth a national testing and contact tracing strategy. Biden’s plan aims to correct these presumed failings, but some are cautioning Biden’s willingness to be heavy-handed with the fist of the federal government when he takes the reins of the United State’s coronavirus response come January.
Reminder: Trump still doesn’t have an adequate national COVID-19 testing strategy.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) September 9, 2020
The Heritage Foundation’s Joel Griffith told the Daily Caller that when you look deeper into Biden’s coronavirus plans, “The focus becomes more on government spending and reshaping the economy.”
One aspect of Biden’s coronavirus plan is to “Implement Widespread Testing-and-Tracing.” Part of this plan includes “doubl[ing] the number of drive-though testing sites,” and will continue to increase the number “until there are no more lines.” However, questions still remain as to how much sway the federal government has in the establishment of testing sites. This is due to the fact that most testing sites are operated by pharmacies in coordination with state and local officials, albeit certain sites are sponsored by the federal government, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Biden also says his plan will create “a Pandemic Testing Board to massively surge a nationwide campaign and guarantee regular, reliable, and free access to testing for all, including every worker called back on the job.” However, the Department of Health and Human Services’ “Community-Based Testing Sites for COVID-19” webpage says no-cost testing is already available in all 50 states. (RELATED: Let’s Take A Look At Who Really Downplayed Coronavirus, Shall We?)
The Hill reported in October Biden team wants to increase testing sevenfold. However, Griffith points out that the United States has “seen tremendous amounts of testing, we’re not number one in the world in tests per capita, but we’re certainly moving up that leaderboard.”
The United States has performed more tests than any other country in the world and more per million than most western nations, according to Worldometers. The United States is approaching testing two million Americans per day, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The Pandemic Testing Board will also be tasked with creating a 100,000 person national contract tracing workforce, as reported by Politico. Yet, the Sacramento Bee reported in July that a large portion of the 10,000 coronavirus trackers trained in California were not utilized.
Biden’s campaign website also boasts the fact that Biden has repeatedly advocated for nationwide mask mandates and lockdowns.
But, Griffith said, “Whether it’s President Trump or President Biden, the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional authority to implement national lockdowns or mask mandates. Such an attempt would be unconstitutional, it would be unlawful, it would be economically destructive, and it would be unnecessary. States have the ability to implement these public health measures.” Griffith added “to attempt to implement a nationwide mask mandate or bar closures or capacity limitations—the federal government does not have that power to force that on to the states.”
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a November appearance on “Face the Nation,” said that “We’ve been sort of arguing politically over what I think is a false dichotomy, a strawman, that it’s really a choice between lockdowns and no lockdowns. And that’s not the case. We- we don’t need to shut down the country, close businesses, tell people they need to stay at home to get some measure of control over this virus. We’re not going to get perfect control over this virus. It’s a contagious virus. It’s going to spread, but it doesn’t need to spread at the levels and at the velocity that’s going to start to press the health care system.”
Furthermore, Biden has claimed he would invoke the Defense Production Act, instead of continuing the Trump administration’s pursuit of private-public partnerships.
“There’s little evidence invoking the Defense Production Act would have actually accelerated the capacity of our economy to produce the equipment and the goods that we need,” Griffith told the Caller. “We actually saw our private sector very quickly pivot towards providing those goods. In part, that success is due to the fact that we did have state and local governments involved in purchasing much of that. There wasn’t really a need to commander those facilities. They provided it on their own.”
Operation Warp Speed has also come under scrutiny from the Biden team. Operation Warp Speed, Biden’s website says, “lacks sound leadership, global vision, or a strategy for securing the necessary funding to see this mission through or secure trust from Americans who depend on its success.”
BREAKING—Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine is 70% effective overall. But one of its dosing regimens of low-then-high yields 90% effectiveness.
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 23, 2020
For Biden’s plan to be successful, Griffith says Biden needs to deviate from strategies taken by some of the nation’s governors, such as Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “The emphasis here needs to be protecting the most vulnerable of our populations. Sadly, we saw a number of governors fail to do that,” he said. A good plan to fight off the coronavirus pandemic has “to have a focus on protecting the vulnerable while allowing law abiding citizens to get back to their lives. Both for economic reasons and for mental health and spiritual reasons.”