BOSTON – As he begins his transition to the presidency, Joe Biden is moving from a bitter electoral contest to another more urgent fight: controlling the pandemic that has hit the most powerful country in the world harder than any other.
The president-elect will speak to the press on Monday about his plan to combat COVID-19 and his project to improve the economy.
The United States records an average of more than 100,000 infections a day and often breaks its records for daily cases. Hospitals in several states are running out of space and staff, and the death toll is skyrocketing.
Public health authorities warn that the country is entering its worst phase of the pandemic with the arrival of winter and the upcoming holiday season at the end of the year, which increase the risk of rapid infections as Americans travel, shop and celebrate with beloved.
“The next two months are going to be tough, tough,” said Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and department chair at the Yale School of Public Health. “We could see another 100,000 deaths by January.”
So far, the United States has registered more than 10 million infections and more than 237,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Biden announced Sunday that Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former US Director of Public Health, and Dr. David Kessler, the former Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, will serve as co-chairs of a coronavirus task force to be unveiled. Monday.
The group will be tasked with taking the proposals Biden made during the campaign and turning them into an anti-virus plan that the new president can put in place when he takes office in January.
It took more than a day for the first lady of the United States to pronounce on the projected defeat of her husband Donald Trump.
Biden promised on campaign that diagnostic tests would be free and widely accessible, as well as hiring thousands of health workers for contact tracing programs and instructing the Centers for Disease Control to offer clear guidelines based on expert recommendations. , among other proposals.
As a Democratic candidate, Biden made mismanagement of the pandemic at the hands of President Donald Trump the central issue of his campaign.
But much of Biden’s proposals will require congressional intervention, and he is sure to encounter difficulties in divided houses of parliament.
The arrival of Kamala Harris to the US vice presidency marks a historic milestone in the country’s politics. This has been the long way for women in other high positions.
“I am not presenting myself with the false promise of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch. But I do promise this: From day one, we will start by doing the right things, ”he said last month at a campaign rally.
Dr. Phillip Coule, medical director of the Augusta University Medical Center in Georgia, said he was confident the country could move past the political divisions that have complicated the response to the virus now that the elections are over.
“Now that we have passed the elections, let us handle this based on the science, and not the politics, of this disease and the pandemic,” he said.
The Republican senator said the president is using the same rhetoric of the authoritarians in questioning the legitimacy of the presidential results.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said he believed that even the most convinced COVID-19 deniers would adopt a more conciliatory tone when they took on Trump’s electoral defeat.
“I think the political pressure to deny COVID is gone,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I think now you will see scientists speak without restrictions. And I think the numbers are going to go up, and Americans will understand how serious it is. “
There are legal limits to what the president-elect can do before officially taking office, but he and his transition team must start preparing the work immediately, said Dr. Leana Wen, a professor of public health at George Washington University and former Baltimore health commissioner.
The coronavirus pandemic, the recovery of the economy, racial equity and climate change will be the main axes of Joe Biden’s government.
Establishing some consensus with state governments on national management, including a national order on the use of masks, should be a priority, he said.
Opposition to the use of masks remains a thorny issue, especially in some of the worst affected states in the country.
“Each state acts quite autonomously on its measures, and we’ve already seen how that has turned out,” said Ko, the Yale expert. “This disease needs national and global responses.”
This was the first day of Joe Biden, a day after various media projected him as the next US president.
Overcoming months of mixed messages about the pandemic is another complex task Biden must undertake during his transition, said Angela Rasmussen, a virus researcher at Columbia University in New York.
“The last year of misinformation, confusion and unhinging people from the White House has destroyed the confidence that our government can handle this,” he said. “It will be crucial to start communicating that yes, this government will act governed by science.”
During his first remarks as president-elect, Biden said Saturday that his task force will create a plan “based on sound science” and “built on compassion, empathy and concern.”
His collaborators, meanwhile, have spent the days of the elections assuring the public that the government will be ready to respond to the pandemic.