COVID-19 policy is among the most controversial topics in America today, with many on the left supporting strict lockdown measures in response to the novel coronavirus.
However, it seems that those who expected Democratic nominee Joe Biden to implement them may be disappointed: Biden said Thursday that he has no intention of instituting a national lockdown, the Washington Examiner reported. The comments mark a reversal from what both the former vice president and one of his health advisers have suggested in the past.
“No national shutdown”
“I’m not going to shut down the economy,” Biden told reporters in Delaware, according to the Examiner. “Period. I’m going to shut down the virus. No national shutdown. No national shutdown.” He went on to say that it would be “counterproductive” to impose a single one-size-fits-all policy across the country given how local circumstances can vary.
Biden’s remarks are at odds with the position he took during this year’s presidential campaign. He told ABC News in August, “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”
Meanwhile, a member of Biden’s coronavirus advisory panel, Dr. Michael Osterholm, said he believes that imposing a widespread lockdown measure could be both necessary and financially feasible.
“We have a big pool of money out there that we could borrow, at historic low-interest rates by the federal government,” Osterholm said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. In his view, that would allow the federal government to “cover all of the lost wages for individual workers, losses to small companies and medium-sized companies, for cities, states, county government.
“If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down,” he said.
Strict rules from other Democrats
While the former vice president seems to be backing off the idea of pushing additional restrictions, some Democrats at the state level are showing no such hesitation.
Among the most aggressive has been California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has mandated strict rules governing mask-wearing and social events.
However, Newsom seems to be less enthusiastic about abiding by the restrictions as he is about imposing them.
Last week, photos emerged of the governor without a mask at a crowded dinner party.
With Biden’s back and forth stance on this issue, it’s impossible to know what a Biden administration would actually do if given the opportunity. Hopefully, it would hold off from implementing a lockdown that would almost certainly mean economic disaster for the country.