Joe Biden warned of a "dark winter" as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic and warned President Donald Trump's refusal to start the transition process could result in more deaths.
The president-elect spoke to CEOs and union leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and General Motors CEO Mary Barra, on Monday about the economy ravaged by the pandemic after a virtual meeting.
“We all agree that we want to get the economy going again. We need our employees to get back to work and that means getting the virus under control, ”he said.
“We are going into a very dark winter. Things get harder before it gets easier, "he warned as coronavirus cases are on the rise in the US. There have been more than 11 million cases of the disease in the U.S. and the average daily rate is more than 100,000.
Joe Biden warned of a "dark winter" as the nation battles coronavirus
Biden also called on Trump's government to give his transition team access to their plan to distribute a COVID vaccine.
"The sooner we have access to the administration's distribution plan, the faster this transition will go smoothly," he said.
"If we don't coordinate, more people can die," he added.
“How can we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What does the game plan look like? Getting it done and prioritizing those most in need and working our way through is a huge undertaking, ”he said. "And they say they had this warp-speed program that was not just about getting vaccines, but how to distribute them."
He argued that the wait for inauguration day was too long given the severity of the pandemic.
"If we have to wait until January 20th to start this plan, we have a month," he said.
The formal transition process stalled when President Trump refused to let his Democratic rival vote. The General Services Administration is the agency officially beginning the transfer of power, but its Trump-appointed boss has refused to start the process.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke about the virus and the economy as inventories spiked after drug maker Moderna announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective, according to preliminary data.
"I wouldn't hesitate to get the vaccine, but I'd like to set an example too," Biden said when asked if he would take one once it's approved.
Harris warned there was no time to waste.
"The road ahead will not be easy, but the president-elect and I will get started right away," she said. "We don't have a moment to lose."
Before their speeches, the two met with business and labor executives to discuss the economic recovery, including Trumka, Barra, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Microsoft President Satya Nadella, UAW President Rory Gamble, Target CEO Brian Cornell , UFCW President Marc Perrone, AFSCME President Lee Saunders and GAP CEO Sonia Synga.
And the Democrat warned: "The unions will have more power."
"I wanted you to know that I am a trade unionist," he said of his conversation with them. Unions will have more power. It's not a business. It's about economic growth and the creation of well-paid jobs. & # 39;
His edict will please the left wing of the party, which distrusted Biden's long record of moderate politics.
But he has doubled his support for unions and the environment.
"We are going to make sure the workers are at the table and environmentalists are at the table and any trade deals we make," he said.
President-elect Joe Biden said he and his wife Jill Biden sat down Monday morning to discuss their Thanksgiving plans. Above, the couple went cycling at Cape Henlopen State Park on Saturday
He also called on Congress to come together and pass the COVID relief laws.
"Right now, Congress should come together and pass an aid package from Covid like the HEROES Act," he said, referring to the laws passed by the Democratic House.
Talks between the Trump White House and the Democrats on Capitol Hill over another COVID bailout package have stalled and several states have begun to introduce new restrictions as coronavirus cases rise.
One of Biden's first roles as president might be to push such laws through the legislature.
Biden also revealed that he and his wife Jill were struggling to deal with their upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. He said they needed expert advice and would try to limit their gathering to five or at least no more than ten people.
“Jill and I, like many of you, were trying to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving this morning. How do we do that? ", He said.
He urged Americans to take Dr. Follow Anthony Fauci and other experts and narrow down their vacation plans.
"I would like to ask urgently – not only for your sake, but also for the sake of your children, your mother, your father, your sister and your brothers. There should not be more than ten people in one room and in the house." he said.
And he urges people to wear masks
"Being masked saves lives," he said, adding, "I just want to make sure we can be together next Thanksgiving and Christmas."
And he seemed to be shooting at President Trump, who was reluctant to wear a face covering.
"There is nothing macho not to wear a mask," he said.
Joe Biden will present his economic plan in a speech on Monday in Wilmington
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will receive a virtual briefing on the economy with their economic advisors
Biden's Build Back Better Economic Recovery Plan would spend over $ 7 trillion on initiatives such as infrastructure, including creating 10 million clean energy jobs, as well as housing, education, economic fairness, and health care.
President Trump, meanwhile, is refusing to admit his Democratic rival, despite the fact that his lawsuits have failed in key battlefield states and his campaign has revealed no evidence of election fraud.
"I won the election!" Trump tweeted Monday morning, falsely claiming victory again. Twitter posted a disclaimer on its tweet, writing, "Official sources called this election differently."
Biden holds 306 votes to Trump's 232 – the same lead Trump won in 2016 when he declared a "landslide" victory over Hillary Clinton. Biden also leads the referendum with at least 5.5 million votes, with ballots still being counted.
The official transition process has not yet started as the president refuses to give in.
Biden's new White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Sunday the delay in starting the process could result in a delay in the distribution of a COVID vaccine.
“We now have the opportunity to test a vaccine from December, January, to see whether it will be approved. There are people at [Department of Health and Human Services] making plans to implement this vaccine, ”he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "Our experts have to speak to these people as soon as possible so that nothing is lost in this change of power."
President Trump holds up his fist to his supporters and cheers from the course on Sunday. He continues to insist that he won the election
Meanwhile, the stock market has risen after Moderna announced its promising news on a COVID vaccine. This makes it the second US company in a week to report results that far exceed expectations.
Moderna was part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program. And unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's shot can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, which should make distribution easier.
The U.S. government has already purchased 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine, which is enough to vaccinate 50 million Americans when people need two shots.
Trump responded to the news by tweeting, "Another vaccine has just been announced. This time from Moderna, 95% effective. For those great "historians", please remember that these great discoveries that will end the China plague all took place on my watch!
And Biden praised the news and warned Americans to keep social distancing and wearing masks.
& # 39; Today's news of a second vaccine is another cause for hope. What was the case with the first vaccine also applies to the second: We are still months away. Until then, Americans will have to continue practicing social distancing and masking to get the virus under control, ”Biden wrote on Twitter.
The stock market rose on news from Moderna about the strong preliminary data from its COVID vaccine trials
Pfizer announced a week ago that its own COVID-19 vaccine is 90 percent effective – news that puts both companies on the right track to get FDA emergency approval in the United States within weeks.
Moderna expects it to be stable for 30 days at standard refrigerator temperatures of 36 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit and can be stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 6 months.
Pfizer's vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 94 ° F, the temperature typical of an Antarctic winter. It can be stored for up to five days at normal refrigerator temperatures.