WILMINGTON, Del. – Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday and announced a plan to control the virus that he said Trump should adopt immediately.
During a speech at Alexis I. duPont High School in Wilmington, Biden outlined the plan, which includes increased testing and rigorous contact tracing. It follows a road map that Biden released in March which he said would have saved lives had it been adopted.
Biden is also proposing to get more protective supplies to health care workers and provide a more consistent message on the importance of wearing a mask in public.
The former vice president stressed that the virus is still here and the threat to American public health remains.
“COVID-19 will likely worsen,” Biden said. "We need real plans, real guidelines with uniform, nationwide standards to help us chart our economic reopening."
Biden, who spoke to a group of reporters in the school gym shortly after 1 p.m. ET, cited the increase in infection rates across the country and said Trump has severely mismanaged the pandemic. He criticized Trump for pushing for a swift reopening and playing golf as infection rates rise across the country.
"American people don't make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so they could just waste, waste their time, and you could waste all the efforts they have undertaken with your midnight rantings and tweets," Biden said. "They don’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps like wearing a mask into a political statement.”
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Biden has consistently criticized Trump for his handling of the pandemic in speeches and on social media. Politico reported that Biden, during a Thursday speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, compared Trump's response to "a child who can’t believe this has happened to him — all his whining and self-pity."
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The former vice president is surging in national polls as he returns to the trail following a stint of campaigning from his basement during the pandemic. Thirteen consecutive national polls released between June 5 and June 26 showed Biden ahead by at least 7 percentage points.
The Trump campaign criticized Biden after the Tuesday speech.
“Joe Biden wants to talk about a ‘Day 1 Agenda’ to fight coronavirus," said Ali Pardo, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, in a statement. "On day one, he was against the travel restrictions that saved countless American lives. Joe Biden spent the last 5 months trying to come up with a plan, the President has been leading one that slowed the spread, made us the world leader in testing, and reopened our economy."
According to BBC News, the U.S. leads Western countries in coronavirus testing at almost 31 million tests as of Monday. It's not as much as China, which reports issuing more than 90 million. China reports the total number of tests while many states in the U.S. only report the number of people tested, the BBC reported. Some per-capita statistics also show the U.S. lagging behind.
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Jeff Neiburg contributed to this story.
Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online/The News Journal. You can reach her at (302) 324-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.