By Nia Anthony
Elm Staff Writer
One of the biggest focuses of the 2020 presidential election is something that United States citizens haven’t had to think of before — which candidate has the best plan of recovery for the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is wrecking the nation — leaving millions of Americans dead or sick, out of work, and away from their loved ones. According to the Center for Disease Control, as of Oct. 30, over 230,000 Americans have died from the virus, and a vaccine is still out of reach. It’s pertinent to analyze how President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have reacted to the pandemic in order to gauge their plans for eradicating it post-election.
Trump and Biden disagree on many key issues, but their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have been almost polar opposites of each other.
“Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away,” Trump said on Feb. 10 of this year.
Trump’s comment came before viable health organizations like the CDC and Prevention and the World Health Organization could determine how the COVID-19 might respond to a change in climate.
According to the CDC website as of Oct. 29, “It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19.”
Trump’s response to COVID-19-related unemployment was not enough to support those affected. On April 13, the first wave of stimulus checks was sent to over 80 million Americans, according to the IRS. As of Nov. 2, the second stimulus check has yet to be seen.
With unemployment on the rise and restrictions on evictions and mortgage defaults lifting, Americans are looking for relief in the form of another stimulus check. In response to this growing desperation, Trump has given the American people an ultimatum — stating that he will only issue stimulus checks if he is re-elected.
In a conversation with TV personality Jon Taffer, Trump said, “Once we get past the election, we’re going to get [the stimulus check]…Right after the election, we’ll get it one way or another.”
Rather than taking extra safety steps to combat the spread of COVID-19, Trump downplayed the importance of wearing masks and told citizens it was voluntary.
“The CDC is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So, it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it. They suggested for a period of time, but this is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it,” Trump said at a White House briefing in April. This goes directly against the advice of Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has stated that masks are the main method of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
It’s Trump’s mask leniency that may have played a part in why he and First Lady Melania Trump contracted the virus on Oct. 2 of this year.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S., Biden has advocated for mask-wearing as a primary deterrent to the virus.
In a recent video posted to his official social media accounts, Biden, holding a standard mask, said, “Be a patriot, wear a mask.” This is a message that he relays frequently, even taking his message beyond social media by urging voters to wear masks at his campaign rallies.
Unlike the Trumps, Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have not tested positive for COVID-19 as of Nov. 5.
The Biden campaign hosts a page dedicated to the candidate’s COVID-19 response plan if elected. Although somewhat convoluted because of a multitude of unrelated bullet points, the plan details important measures for relief.
Biden’s plan includes the acceleration of vaccine development, ensuring that first responders will be tested if they come into contact with those infected, and making sure that prices for necessary supplies do not increase under high demand.
Biden also has a stimulus check plan if elected. His plan provides what he calls “student loan forgiveness” for both active and graduated college and university students, as well as increased unemployment benefits for struggling families. Biden plans to limit out-of-pocket spending costs on virus testing and treatments.
With the many physical and financial impacts of COVID-19, this election has proven itself to be increasingly taxing to American citizens. The COVID-19 responses and plans of the candidates has been a major factor influencing voters this election year. Americans should look closely at who is more reliable in this respect.
Featured Photo caption: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former Vice President Joe Biden has strongly promoted the use of face masks in stemming the spread of the virus, while President Donald Trump has frequently called them ineffective. Photo by Izze Rios.