• Biden also plans to work to restore public trust in scientific agencies like the CDC and WHO.
• Here are his key priorities as he prepares to inherit the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.
During his campaign, President-elect Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of having no plan to guide the US out of the pandemic. Biden put forward his own coronavirus plan on March 12 — the day after Trump said the virus posed a “very low” risk to Americans — and has consistently called for more widespread testing and mask requirements.
Many experts expect the current surge in cases to be the nation’s largest, and perhaps deadliest, yet. The US’s daily case counts surpassed 100,000 for the last three days in a row.
“We’re about to go into a dark winter,” Biden said at the final presidential debate in October.
By the time Biden assumes office in January, he will likely inherit an even worse crisis.
Here are the key ways he plans to get US coronavirus cases under control.
Biden has pledged to make testing more widely available through a government-backed test-development program. He also intends to increase the production of rapid, at-home diagnostic tests and establish at least 10 drive-through testing sites per state.
Biden has vowed to make testing free for all Americans, including uninsured individuals, which is supposed to be the case already. But some Americans have been hit with surprise bills — either because hospitals and doctors have used the wrong billing codes or insurers have charged patients for co-payments and deductibles.
“People can fall through the cracks based on how it’s coded or what additional diagnosis they got, but at the end of the day, the federal government’s power is in what’s required of insurers,” Marissa Levine, a public-health professor at the University of South Florida, told Business Insider.
Biden has vowed to eliminate surprise medical billing and waive payments for doctors visits at which a coronavirus test is ordered. He has also pledged to establish an emergency diagnostic code for coronavirus patients on Medicare and Medicaid.
Biden has said he would consider a national mask mandate, though legal experts say he may only have the authority to enforce mask-wearing on federal property or in federal facilities.
At the very least, Biden plans to work with governors to implement mask requirements.
“First, I’ll go to every governor and urge them to mandate mask-wearing in their states. And if they refuse, I’ll go to the mayors and county executives and get local masking requirements in place nationwide,” Biden said in October.
It seems unlikely that Biden would impose a nationwide shutdown, based on his comments leading up to Election Day. But the president-elect has repeatedly said he would follow the recommendations of scientific officials.
“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives. Because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden told ABC’s David Muir in August.
Biden’s campaign website at one time stated that if elected, he would tailor reopening guidelines to individual communities based on their levels of transmission. That means local schools and businesses would be allowed to reopen in a particular area once coronavirus cases are low. Biden also plans to allocate federal funds to help boost safety in facilities that do open, such as by distributing masks and improving ventilation in schools, or installing plastic barriers at restaurants.
“You can open businesses and schools if in fact you provide them the guidance they need, as well as the money to be able to do it,” Biden said at an ABC News town hall in October.
Biden takes off his face mask to speak in Bristol, Pennsylvania, on October 24. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The Trump administration’s approach has come into conflict with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) several times. CDC scientists have said some of their advice about lockdowns and testing was ignored by the federal administration. Read from source….