Here’s a look at what’s going on.
What did the Biden-Harris campaign say?
One of the main pillars of Biden’s coronavirus plan is the promise to step up testing, increasing capacity and making it more accessible.
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The former vice president has also been a strong supporter of mask wearing and physical distancing, repeatedly touting the importance of measures and consistently wearing masks in public.
Additionally, Biden said if elected he would expand access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and allocate more federal assistance to states and local governments to help those affected by the pandemic.
He also pledged to spend $ 25 billion to manufacture and distribute a vaccine. He did not say when a vaccine might be ready, saying instead he trusted scientists and experts to determine when a vaccine would be safe for public consumption.
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Biden also said he would create a task force to tackle racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19, an initiative first announced by his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris in April, and that he would join World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Colin Furness, infection control epidemiologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, enforcing masks, physical distancing and a ban on large gatherings are “essential” to getting things under control in the United States.
However, he said it was “really hard to get the Americans to row in the same direction”, adding that the country was “so polarized”.
« [Biden] can impose these things, but you’re going to be pushed back, ”Furness said. “He’s going to have a huge setback in some areas. There will be no unanimity at all with measures like this.
Furness said what is really needed in the United States is a “culture change”.
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Dr Timothy Sly, epidemiologist and professor emeritus at the School of Public Health at Ryerson University, echoed Furness’ remarks, saying that if Biden is elected he should enforce these policies “urgently” and “with a heavy hand, ”but warned that there will be a pushback.
“There will always be that residue that will relax, and the people who throw beach parties with beer and bonfires and spread [the] viruses around, ”he says.
Sly said it would take “a lot of imaginative and innovative ways” to get the message across that the pandemic is not over and that the virus is still a threat as many people suffer from fatigue.
But whoever elected, Furness said it would be a “disastrous winter” for the United States when it came to the COVID-19 outbreak.
« And I just don’t see how it can be stopped, ”he said.
If Biden is able to make a change, Furness said it likely won’t happen until spring or summer, which is roughly when a vaccine is expected to be available for public use.
What did the Trump-Pence campaign say?
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has not released a comprehensive COVID-19 plan for his potential second term.
Speaking in the last presidential debate on Thursday, Trump said the country is “turning the corner” on the pandemic.
“We’re turning the corner,” he said. “It’s going away.”
The president doubled down on the words during campaign events over the weekend.
However, the data suggests otherwise.
The United States remains the epicenter of the virus, having seen more than 8.7 million cases and more than 226,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
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In addition, a record high of over 83,000 new infections was reported on Friday.
Trump also claimed, without providing evidence, that a vaccine to treat the virus was “ready.”
“It’s ready, it will be announced in a few weeks,” he said during the debate last week. “The army will deliver the vaccine.”
The Republican president relied heavily on the promise of a vaccine, promising to make 300 million doses available by January 2021.
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But experts disagree with Trump’s proposed timetable, saying it is highly unlikely.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the United States “will not control the pandemic.”
Instead, Meadows told CNN that America needs to do “make sure we have the right mitigating factors, whether it’s therapies, vaccines, or treatments to make sure the people don’t die from it. ”
Although Trump has said face masks are appropriate in certain situations, he has been pictured at many public events without one.
He has also repeatedly criticized Biden’s decision to wear a mask and one of his top coronavirus advisers, Scott Atlas, has publicly questioned the effectiveness of face coverings.
Ultimately, Furness said if Trump were re-elected, the COVID-19 situation in the United States would be “obviously worse”.
“The White House has now essentially adopted collective immunity, hasn’t it? It’s their thing, ”he says. “If Trump wins again, then he’s really not responsible to anyone.”
Furness said Trump is focused on protecting his own strength.
« And part of that is ignoring COVID [and] not to give in to an illness, not to admit your mistakes or your weakness, ”he said. “So, yeah, I think it would be worse. “
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What do these plans mean for the Canada-US border?
The Canada-U.S. Border was closed to all non-essential travel in March, and earlier this month the federal government announced restrictions would be extended until at least November 21.
However, the Public Health Agency of Canada provided The Canadian Press with data indicating that 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border was closed.
Of those, 3.5 million were considered essential while 1.1 million people were non-essential travelers and were sentenced to quarantine for 14 days, PHAC said.
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In an email to Global News, the Canada Border Services Agency said that between March 22 and October 18, a total of 24,556 foreign nationals were denied entry into the country from the states -United.
According to the CBSA, the purpose of the travel of these travelers had been deemed “discretionary” by border services officers.
“Of the 24,556, 21,356 were US citizens and 3,200 were citizens of other countries from the United States,” the email said.
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Furness said those numbers suggest there is a “crack” in the border.
“We haven’t defined essential travel,” he said. “And in fact my fear is that the crack in the door is slowly opening wider and wider with more diffuse and broad interpretations of essential travel.
Ultimately, however, said Furness, regardless of who wins the election, Canada must “keep a very close eye” on the rules at the border and be “really straightforward” about what is allowed and what is not.
Furness cited business travel as an example, saying it shouldn’t be allowed at all amid the pandemic.
When it comes to determining when we can safely reopen the border, Furness said the daily case count isn’t necessarily the best metric.
Instead, he said it should stay closed until we are able to conduct “really effective, quick or instant testing at the starting point.”
“So I think if we’re going to see that border open in the absence of a vaccine, we actually want to be able to do that by testing people, I think,” he said.
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Sly said Canada should consider the positivity rate in the United States to determine when it is safe to open the border.
The positivity rate is calculated by dividing the number of cases detected on a given day by the number of tests performed on the same day.
“We really need to look at an indication of what other countries are doing in their positivity rate,” Sly said.
The United States reported a 7% positivity rate on Saturday, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control.
In May this year, the WHO informed governments that the positivity rate is expected to remain at 5 percent or less for at least 14 days before reopening.
According to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University, only 15 states reached that threshold on Saturday.
However, Sly said he would like to see that number drop closer to 1% in Canada and the United States before he feels comfortable easing restrictions at the border.
–With a file from The Canadian Press
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