Biden predicts more Covid-19 deaths if Trump continues blocking transition
President-elect Joe Biden. EFE/Etienne Laurent/File
By Lucia Leal
Washington, Nov 16 (efe-epa).- President-elect Joe Biden warned Monday that President Donald Trump's continued blocking of the transition of power could have lethal consequences, predicting more deaths from Covid-19 if the administration's and his own transition teams cannot coordinate to contain the pandemic and effectively distribute a vaccine.
"More people may die" from Covid-19 if his team cannot coordinate with the administration on fighting the pandemic, Biden warned at a Wilmington, Delaware, press conference when asked about what the greatest threat is regarding Trump's refusal to concede or even acknowledge his election loss.
Hours after the Moderna pharmaceutical firm announced the high effectiveness of its potential vaccine in preventing Covid-19, the second vaccine candidate - along with one developed by Pfizer - to get closer to approval for use, Biden recalled that it will not be enough simply to have the product since it will also have to be distributed to the general public.
"If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start ... planning (how to distribute the vaccine), it puts us behind for a month, a month-and-a-half," Biden told reporters. "And so it's important that it be done, that there be coordination now."
The former vice president came across as being the most frustrated he has been over the past week regarding Trump's blocking of essential transition work, with the president refusing to acknowledge his own defeat in the Nov. 3 election and creating an unprecedented situation in which the president-elect is not being given access to the information and resources of federal agencies to prepare for taking office.
Biden said, however, that Trump's continued blocking of his transition team is not as debilitating for the incoming administration as it might seem.
Meanwhile, Trump has not given any sign that he is ready to change his stance and once again took to Twitter to claim that he had "won" the election despite the fact that Biden is credited with 306 electoral votes - 36 over the required 270 threshold that a candidate needs to become president - by the major US media outlets.
The president has also case doubt on the validity of the manual recount of votes under way in Georgia, where Biden won the state by 14,000 votes, despite the fact that his reelection campaign asked for the recount to confirm the result.
The president's close associates are admitting in private the futility of his legal strategy, which to be successful would have to prove in court that major electoral fraud was committed not just in one state but in multiple key states, something that is extremely unlikely.
And while more and more Republicans are declaring that Biden should hve access to intelligence information, Trump's own White House National Security Advisor, Robert O'Brien, said that the president is aware of his defeat.
"If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner, and obviously things look that way now, we'll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council, there's no question about it," O'Brien said during remarks before the Global Security Forum.
Apart from his remarks about the transition, Biden warned that the spike in the pandemic in the US is very serious and the country could have a "very dark" winter in terms of Covid-19 infections and deaths, a situation that could also severely impact the economy.
The president-elect insisted that the economic impact of the pandemic could cause many businesses to close in the coming months and he urged Congress to approve a new stimulus package like the one the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives approved six months ago valued at $3 trillion.
The idea that Trump continues to play golf and not do anything about the pandemic is incomprehensible to Biden, the former VP said, and the president should at least be thinking that he wants to leave office on a positive note.
Republican allies of Trump, and the GOP controls the Senate, are refusing to consider the financial aid package approved by Democrats in the House and are insisting that the cost of the legislation should be much less, around $500 billion.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met on Monday with the heads of big US companies - General Motors, Microsoft, Target and Gap - and the leaders of several unions, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, UAW, UFCW and the AFSCME, and the president-elect came out of the meeting expressing optimism.
He said he was really encouraged to see how the business leaders and the unions were in agreement on the road the country must take to recover economically.