Biden and Harris ready for coronavirus pandemic briefing and speeches on Thursday

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“All Americans should wear a mask when they are outside for the next three months at a minimum,” the former vice president told reporters after he and his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, received a briefing on the pandemic. public health experts.

Wearing masks, he said, “will get our children back to school earlier and safer” and “will bring back our businesses in the long run.”

“Look, this is America. Be a patriot, ”Biden said in a message to those who resist wearing masks. “Protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do whatever it takes.

Biden and Harris appeared in person Thursday for the second day in a row after Biden selected the California senator as race vice president on Tuesday. They did not answer journalists’ questions after their remarks.

In Wilmington, Delaware, the two received a briefing from a panel of public health experts brought together by the Biden campaign. Biden has been receiving private briefings for months from a group of health experts advising his campaign on pandemic policies, as well as whether and how the former vice president can organize in-person events.Biden said the briefing focused on how to open schools, how a vaccine would be distributed once it was available; racial disparities in the way the coronavirus pandemic has spread; and the continued need for sanitary protective equipment.

Harris also touted Biden’s proposals to hire 100,000 people for a national contact tracing effort, as well as $ 25 billion to manufacture and distribute a vaccine.

She said Biden had shown “real leadership” in calling for a mask warrant, saying he was ready “to speak up, sometimes telling us things that we don’t necessarily want to hear, but that we must know “.

Their coronavirus-focused comments came the day after Biden and Harris used speeches on Wednesday to hammer President Donald Trump on his handling of the pandemic.

Harris pitted the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 166,000 Americans and caused more than 5 million cases in the United States, with Ebola under former President Barack Obama and the Biden administration, which resulted in two death.

“That’s what happens when we elect a guy who just isn’t ready for the job,” Harris said. “Our country ends in tatters, as does our reputation in the world. ”

Biden has long called on Trump to dramatically step up production of protective medical equipment by invoking the Defense Production Act. He also said he would rapidly increase coronavirus testing and supplies and make all coronavirus-related medical care free.

Biden’s campaign seeks to capitalize on the explosion of attention and interest around Harris being selected as running mate. Her campaign said she raised a combined $ 34.2 million on Tuesday, the day Harris was selected, and Wednesday, when the two held their first grassroots fundraiser together.

Their focus on the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday comes as talks in Washington over a major economic relief program are stalled. Trump’s handling of the pandemic will certainly be a focal point of the Democratic National Convention, a virtual event taking place next week through a series of speeches across the country – including Biden and Harris speaking from the Chase Wilmington Center. .

Ahead of Thursday’s briefing, Biden also slammed Trump for seeking to cut funding for the U.S. Postal Service in a bid to prevent postal voting in the November general election.

“Pure Trump,” Biden said. “He doesn’t want an election. “

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