COVID Update August 18: "I'm Joe Biden and I accept your nomination to be your next president. Normally I wouldn't give the pandemic portion of my speech through Andy Slavitt's Twitter account but here goes." 1/
"You are hiring for the job of the person to manage our country's way out of this global pandemic.
You have seen Donald Trump's approach so I will start with what I will not do.
I will not ever take lightly a risk to the American public. Ever.
I will not avoid responsibility or point fingers to avoid dealing with a major crisis.
I will not walk away from the work and leave it to others.
And I will not lie. If there is a hard truth, I will tell you.
What will I do?
I will have a plan. That plan will deal with each possible contingency.
I will unite us. We have a common goal. And with an infectious disease, minor cracks cause major damage.
I will listen to scientists. Not because they're perfect but because they follow data.
Also, scientists have been studying viruses and infectious diseases longer than your cousin's friend on FaceBook. Or Mr. Pillow.
If they learn something new, it won't make them wrong. It will make the right.
Here are 20 commitments I will make to you:
1) We will take a national approach to guidelines. The guidelines can be used to help state and local officials determine what to do.
2) I will insist on and provide completely transparent information on every piece of pertinent data and insist that others do too.
3) I will literally not let my head or the head of any staff member hit the pillow until every member of our essential health care workforce has PPE. There are sufficient amounts in China and South Korea. I will end the protectionism keeping those items from our shores.
4) I will use the Defense Production Act to get every single person in this county high-quality, reusable masks.
5) I will order the creation of enough rapid tests for every school district in the country. I expect to have enough to safely open schools within 30-45 days.
6) After schools, we will move to colleges and a prioritized list of religious, cultural, social institutions, and small businesses.
We will also develop low cost home based tests and as we reduce cases will have more than enough capacity to test all people who need it rapidly.
7) I will commandeer hotel space so everyone in the country can safely isolate. If you get COVID, we will help you make sure you don't pass it on.
8) I will create a 175,000 person health care workforce in every community, speaking every language. These will be young people who will make up our contact tracing, public education, and mask distribution workforce.
9) I will work with each governor to implement a mask mandate.
What will I do if governors in say Florida or Georgia won't comply? Well first, I will discuss this with them. If we can't see eye to eye, I will work through the mayors, school boards & other local officials to require & distribute masks. But I will persuade them. How...?
10) I will take the politics out of the pandemic response as it should have been done before. I will have an bi-partisan scientific advisory and communication panel
11) Within 1 day of my inauguration, I will release a plan for vaccine distribution.
The vaccine distribution plan will prioritize medical workers, schools, teachers & those who at most risk of dying from COVID-- BIPOC communities, nursing homes, farm labor camps, detention centers & jails & Americans with disabilities.
Vaccines must be trusted so all trial data will be made public and reviewed by the world's best scientists.
12) The U.S. will also pay our fair share to distribute any vaccine to poorer countries. Of course. This is who we have been throughout our history.
13) I will order a sweeping review of nursing homes, re-install the regulations which Trump overturned to keep them safe & close any nursing home that is not safe.
14) I will ask Congress for billions to assist schools & congregate care settings to upgrade their buildings.
15) I will ask the Vice President to oversee a health equity task force to end the disparities that affect BIPOC, LGBTQIA, disability and other communities.
Tangibly, long term services & supports, child care, paid family leave & broadband will be part of the deal.
16) Bars, restaurants & other entertainment, as important s they are, will not be open until they don't threaten the safety of schools.
17) I will ask our scientific institutions to accelerate convalescent plasma, monoclonal antibodies, & other exciting therapies.
18) All of our scientific institutions-- the FDA, the CDC & BARTA-- will make their recommendations free of political interference. I will ask Congress to make a substantial investment in these institutions.
19) I will ask our Congress to pass a bill providing financial, health, & housing support UNTIL 90 DAYS AFTER THE LAST DAY OF THE DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Unlike Trump, I will go to Congress and stay with them until this bill passes, all day & night if needed.
20) We will create national interstate travel restrictions & quarantine guidelines.
These are my commitments to you and I will bring in the best people in the country to work with you and your state & local leaders, but I will be accountable.
I will make sure this gets done. Just as we did with EBOLA. When things go wrong, as they temporarily do on a bumpy road, the buck stops with me.
That's my commitment to you. But I'm also asking things of you.
For too long we have had a president who acted like this whole thing didn't matter. That these were rosy times. That we should all be able to have everything we want. All the time.
That's just simply not true.
Things will be asked of all us to get through this pandemic with the least loss of life from here. And that will get us our economy and our lives back.
You will be asked to take the responsibility that gets you the rights we hold so dear.
Our country was built by hard labor-- forced, low-paid, often unpaid. People faced down threats and discrimination repeatedly to make this country better. People fought for our independence, for our union, to get here through Ellis Island.
To cross hundreds of miles of desert to realize the dream of coming to this country. Our Native American people have survived generations of slaughter.
The hell in going to allow our country to fall apart because a small vocal element won’t carry that sacrifice forward.
Other countries of lesser means have shown the will to make the death toll negligible. Following the plan I laid out & with some sacrifice for one another we can do the same.
Negligible losses. Maximum society. Those two hang together.
Together we can knock this virus on its keister.”
I think I need to say after looking at a few comments that this is what I would say on Thursday if I were Joe.
I’m sure he will do better.