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  • U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Democratic candidate Joe Biden attending their final debate, Arlington, Virginia, U.S. Oct. 22, 2020

    U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Democratic candidate Joe Biden attending their final debate, Arlington, Virginia, U.S. Oct. 22, 2020 | Photo: Xinhua

Published 23 October 2020
Opinion

Biden said if elected, he would make sure everyone is encouraged to wear a mask, invest in rapid testing, and set up national COVID-19 standards.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump for mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic at the final presidential debate on Thursday night.

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"We're in a circumstance where the president thus far still has no plan, no comprehensive plan," Biden said and noted that the death toll had already surpassed 220,000 in the U.S., with 1,000 new deaths per day, accusing Trump of intentionally playing down the threat.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 1,076 people died from COVID-19 on Wednesday and the daily death toll averaged 700 during past week.

In his response, Trump said that it's a "worldwide pandemic," noting that there are spikes in Europe and many other places right now, and also attempting to shift blame to China.

"We're fighting it and we're fighting it hard," and the outcomes would be much worse without the administration's efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Trump argued, adding that recent spikes in Florida, Texas, Arizona are now gone, and spikes and surges in other places "will soon be gone," adding that vaccines will come "within weeks."

When asked by the moderator whether it's a guaranteed timeline, the president said "it's not a guarantee, but it will be by the end of the year," adding that he thinks "it has a good chance."

"We have to reopen our country. The cure can't be worse than the problem itself," Trump said. "We're learning to live with it. We have no choice. We can't lock ourselves up in a basement."

Biden, however, refuted Trump's remarks, saying "people are learning to die with it."

The Democratic candidate said if elected, he would make sure everyone is encouraged to wear a mask, invest in rapid testing, set up national standards and provide financial resources to safely reopen schools and businesses.

In the exchange, Trump also criticized the Obama administration's response to the swine flu, saying that it was a total disaster. "Now he [Biden] comes up and he tells us how to do this," the president said.

As of Friday morning, Trump still trails Biden in national polling averages, but the gap has slightly narrowed from a week ago. The Biden campaign has recently warned that in the key battleground states where this election will be decided, the two candidates remain neck and neck.

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