Joe Biden answers how he would have handled the pandemic

Joe Biden discusses what following the science would have meant in terms of actual policy on overcoming COVID-19.
7:09 | 10/16/20

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Transcript for Joe Biden answers how he would have handled the pandemic
Nicklaus Indonesian Jenkins town Pennsylvanian that's close tear here in Philadelphia who won't help. You're Democrat. Am a Democrat thank you George. Mr. vice president. Every day. My wife and I are in disbelief at the lack of coordinated federal action on covered nineteen. We know that your administration would follow with science. My question for you it's two parts. First looking backwards. To when this country first became aware. Covered nineteen. What would following the science have meant in terms. Actual policy. And then looking forward. What would your administration do. In terms following the science. With real concrete policies that. Haven't been done by the current administration's first floor gore. Back. The fact is that we could the president wasn't form how dangerous this virus works. And all the way back can begin to February I argued that we should be keeping people in China. And we had set up and our administration a pandemic office within the White House for 44 people on the ground. I suggest we should be seeking and I didn't hold public office I was a former vice president. I suggest we in fact asked to you have access to have the source of the problem. And the best of our knowledge trump never push that almost 44 people came home never got replaced. In addition that I've pointed out that I thought in February had who did a piece USA today saying this is serious problem trump tonight he said it was. We later learned that he knew full well how serious was when you do can be returned Woodward I mean should be Bob Horner. And at the time. He said he didn't tell anybody because he was afraid Americans who panic Americans don't panic keep him. He didn't say a word to anybody. And I wrote a piece in March about what I thought we should be doing to ten coldness. Usually in the mean there there's an active to pass along time ago allows the president going to businesses say stop making this a start making that. And took a longtime friend even institute that to give vent letters and so on. And so the point was he missed enormous opportunities. And kept saying things that weren't true it's gonna go away by eastern don't worry about this come all when he went away when summer comes it's all gonna go away like americorps. He still said he knows this route before you go to the future can they have. Follow up and I'm looking back or just a little that you did have an op Ed in January where you warm to the seriousness. Of the pandemic but there's no record of you calling for. Social distance seeing. Limited social gatherings. Mandatory not factor in January should have known better February know that's correct there wasn't that came. If you know march into and I laid out a detailed plan relative to school openings in June July. And I talked about for you got by that time the science is becoming clearer and clear of how this was spreading so rapidly. The president kept in mind that if you notice from march on I stopped doing big meetings I started wearing masks we you know so it was at a time when. These science Hussein and his key people doctor Fahd to restrain. You should be taking these precautions so what we should be doing now there should be a national standard. Instead of it is up to her reported the president said the governor's overall the wrong it's not my responsibility of the governors can do it they need to do not my responsibility. There's a presidential responsibility to lead. And he didn't do that he didn't talk about what needed to be done because he kept worrying in my view. About the stock market. He worried if he talked about how bad this could be endless we took these two card precautionary actions. Then in fact it does the market would be down and Hisham barometer of success the economy is the markets. Thirdly what we didn't do is the president. Had an opportunity to. Open and allow schools and businesses to stay open if he they got the kinda help they needed so the congress passed. Couple trillion dollars for the help and what happened was most of that money Eason of weren't portion of the money went to the very wealthiest corporations and in the country. Didn't get to the mom and pop stores so you had one in 516. Minority businesses closing none of them permanently people be laid off. And then what happened when the first tranche. The first round of money for unemployment enhanced unemployment passive when one one ply. He didn't do anything. He did know anything. And the best of my knowledge I mean necessarily. I can't think I've been around for a lot of presidents and you know a lot of presence and a crisis I don't ever remember one never calling the house and senate Republicans and Democrats together. Let's let's look forward a little that you said that you would like and the economy only if the scientists say it was necessary by the that whatever context through Sidwell academic current editor nudity kind of sign sits are sort of follow science. What I but I don't think there's a need to lock them but I want to press you on that point you're you've been in the Oval Office sit for eight years President Obama he would always say that only them but only the hard to solve problems. But here's what is most likely to happen is the scientists will disagree the scientists would disagree with the economist of the question is. How are you decide this who you gonna listen to and how can you can contain the pandemic without question you can't quote. You can contend the pandemic by being rational I'm not trashed economy for example. I lay out a plan how you can open businesses. You can open businesses and schools if in fact you provide them for guidance that they need as well as the money to be able to do it. What's happening now is we know for example. If you can open a business you can have a sign them endorse any safety command that's why people aren't going anywhere and you wonder open. And safe because you have social distancing you have plastic barriers when you know the cashier. You have separate meters between the booths you don't have a large crowd to reduce the size. The number peep you can have in the restaurant. You make sure there's testing that's in a really critical pieces he didn't do testing and Traci. And you make sure that people are equipped. Going to schools. You know we initially said become initially say they're gonna fight were asked for every student and every teacher and I said no no. No no FEMA said that it and that's the the president or whomever said not all that's not a national emergency. On a national emergency. We need fewer we need more teachers in our schools to be able opened smaller problems we need ventilation systems change where there's a lot of things we know now. And I've let I laid them out some dates and I can't. I said I laid them I'm not an officeholder from running for office is not like I'm still vice president for hours that the United States senator. Pushing this so I don't want to say I. But we did lay out exactly what needed to be done and take a look. We make up 4% of the world's population of 20% of the world's tasks. We're in the situation room 210. Plus thousand people dead. And what's he doing nothing he still would not worry mast and so.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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