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Joe Biden rules out nationwide lockdown over COVID as he holds talks with governors


‘No national shutdown. No national shutdown.’ Joe Biden rules out nationwide lockdown over COVID as he holds talks with governors on mounting crisis

  • ‘I say it again. No national shutdown. No national shutdown,’ Biden said
  • He spoke to reporters Thursday in Wilmington
  • One advisor floated a four-to-six week lockdown, but two other advisors shot down the idea
  • He marked ”tragic milestone’ of 250,000 COVID-19 deaths 

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For In Wilmington, Delaware

Published: | Updated:

President-elect Joe Biden said he would not seek to order a nation-wide shutdown even as coronavirus infections spread nationwide and deaths hit 250,000.   

‘Everybody asks that question every single time,’ Biden said, flashing some annoyance when asked if he would order businesses around the country to close as the pandemic raged. 

He referenced his own earlier comments on the subject, and said: ‘The answer was I would follow the science. I am not going to shutdown the economy, period.’

‘No national shutdown’: President-elect Joe Biden said a nationwide shutdown was not on the table, as the nation hit the ‘tragic milestone’ of 250,000 COVID-19 deaths

To underline the point, he said: ‘I say it again. No national shutdown. No national shutdown.’

‘There’s no circumstance which I can see that would require total national shutdown. I think that would be counterproductive,’ he said.

He spoke as a range of states were tightening measures and limiting capacity at bars and restaurants while limiting the size of gatherings amid a relentless surge in coronavirus infections.

But he said states needed to be tailored by states based on what is going on there. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, although Vice President Mike Pence’s coronavirus task force, which met Thursday and held an hour-long White House briefing that did not allow questions, was formally silent on the subject.

FILE – In this March 25, 2020 file photo, the dining section is closed off at East Side Pockets, a small restaurant near Brown University, in Providence, R.I. Desperate small business owners who hoped for a quick government lifeline to help them survive the coronavirus crisis are still without funds, instead battling red tape, wary banks and swamped computer systems

People walk by a closed Victoria’s Secret on October 15, 2020 in New York City. As American workers continue to struggle in an economy brought down by COVID-19, new jobless claims rose to 898,000 last week. It was the highest number since August 22 and represented a gain of 53,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 845,000

The comments came after Biden advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm said a four to six week lockdown accompanied by a system to pay people during the disruption might rein in the virus, although other advisors said it was not on the table. 

Biden advisors Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Atul Gawande each have pushed back on the idea of a national lockdown.

Biden’s words came as he marked the ‘tragic milestone’ of 250,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths, and talked up a call with governors to brainstorm policy.

‘There was a real desire for real partnership between the states and the federal government,’ Biden said.


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