Joe Biden’s advisers have pointed out that the president-elect of the United States is not considering a short-term national lockdown to finally combat a flare-up of the pandemic. For now, it’s something Biden prefers to avoid.
In the week since the press announced that he defeated President Donald Trump in the November 3 election, Biden has devoted most of his public comments to encouraging Americans to wear a face mask and view the coronavirus as a threat. It has nothing to do with political sympathies.
But the debate has been more lively among members of the advisory board on the coronavirus that Biden announced this week.RELATED
Two members of his coronavirus task force had to make it public this week that they were not contemplating a widespread national lockdown. A third member, Dr. Michael Osterholm, previously said that a four- to six-week shutdown, accompanied by a financial aid package for Americans, was worth considering.
Osterholm later retracted his comments, telling ABC News that he had not raised the proposal with the task force. The dispute over the issue underscores the political and practical challenges Biden will face in trying to control the pandemic once he takes office in January.
Biden campaigned that he would be more responsible than Trump in managing America’s public health and has been forthright about the challenges that await the country, warning for example that a “dark winter” is coming as they escalate. contagions.
But talking about closures of economic activities is a particularly sensitive issue. On the one hand, it is almost impossible for a president to enact them on his own, since he requires the bipartisan support of state and local authorities. Furthermore, more broadly, they are a hot political issue that could undermine Biden’s efforts to unify a deeply divided country.
“It could provoke a backlash with results contrary to expectations,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Adalja added that such a measure could worsen the current situation if people do not comply with the restrictions. “Closures can have consequences that undermine the value of such an approach.”
Kathleen Sebelius, who was secretary of health during the Barack Obama administration, said it would be wise for Biden to keep her options open for now, especially since Trump has always criticized shutdowns.
“It’s a very sensitive issue” politically, Sebelius said. “I think the president-elect would not want to enter into a debate with the incumbent president about some kind of mandate that he has no authority to implement.”