Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Trump signals easing coronavirus restrictions | Tensions boil over as Senate fails to advance stimulus bill | Pelosi previews .5T House stimulus package The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden seeks to counter Trump on coronavirus Largest public sector union endorses Biden MORE on Tuesday denounced President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin, Schumer brief Trump, expect coronavirus stimulus deal Tuesday US airlines drafting plans for potential shutdown: report White House hits CNN, MSNBC for cutting away from coronavirus briefing MORE for pushing to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter Sunday, saying that the president needs to “stop talking” and listen to health experts.
“I would like to open up the government tomorrow if it were possible,” the Democratic presidential candidate said on MSNBC just hours after Trump stated that he hoped to have the country “opened up” by April 12.
“Let’s be realistic. This curve is going up and up and up because we did not act when we should have acted.”
Biden implored Trump to focus on the nation’s health and to listen to scientists such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), who have issued repeated warnings about the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak and the need for extended social distancing requirements.
The disease, which originated in China, has infected more than 52,100 people in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins University database, leading to mass closures of businesses and schools as state and local governments work to slow its spread.
Health experts, including Fauci, have said that social distancing requirements could be needed for weeks, though Trump this week began floating the idea of reopening businesses, saying such a move could be necessarily to avoid severely damaging the economy.
Biden panned any attempt to restart the economy that would risk further escalating the virus outbreak.
“Look, if you want to ruin the economy for a long time, let’s go ahead see this thing continue by having it burst out again,” he said. “We haven’t even flattened the curve. It’s frustrating to hear this president speak. He should stop talking. Let the experts speak.”
He went on to say that the current crisis goes beyond politics and that the U.S. will be able to address economic costs later. He also cited Congress’ work to pass a massive stimulus package to provide support for workers impacted by the outbreak as a positive step.
“This is about how we spare this nation from a potential disaster,” Biden said.
Trump said during a Fox News town hall Tuesday that closing down the economy could “destroy” the U.S. and said that he’d love to have it “raring to go by Easter.”
Speaking at a White House briefing later that day, Fauci said that the timeline for lifting restrictions on businesses and mass gatherings was “very flexible.”
He said lifting restrictions would not make sense in an area like New York City, which has emerged as the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S, and noted that the upcoming weeks would be crucial for public health officials to understand how widespread the spread of the virus is in the country.