BIDEN: 220,000 Americans dead. You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. The expectation is we'll have another 200,000 Americans dead between now & the end of the year. If we just wore these masks, we can save a 100,000 lives. And we're in a circumstance where the president has no comprehensive plan. What I would do is make sure we have everyone encouraged to wear a mask all the time. I would make sure we invest in rapid testing. I would make sure that we set up national standards as to how to open up schools and open up businesses so they can be safe and give them the wherewithal, the financial resources to be able to do that. Folks, I will take care of this. I will end this. I will make sure we have a plan.
Q: [to TRUMP]: You said a vaccine will be coming within weeks. Is that a guarantee?
TRUMP: No, it's not a guarantee, but it will be by the end of the year. I think it has a good chance.
BIDEN: If we just wore these masks, we can save a 100,000 lives. The president has no comprehensive plan. I will make sure we have a plan.
Q: [to TRUMP]: You said a vaccine will be coming within weeks. Is that a guarantee?
TRUMP: No, it's not a guarantee, but it will be by the end of the year.
Q: Your own officials say, "It could take well into 2021 at the earliest for enough Americans to get vaccinated." Is your timeline realistic?
TRUMP: No, I think my timeline is going to be more accurate. I don't know that they're counting on the military the way I do, but we have our generals lined up [for distribution] logistics. As soon as we have the vaccine and we expect to have a 100 million vials.
BIDEN: This is the same fellow who told you, "Don't worry, we're going to end this by the summer." We're about to go into a dark winter, and he has no clear plan.
TRUMP: 2.2 million people were expected to die. We closed up the greatest economy in the world in order to fight this horrible disease that came from China. The mortality rate is down 85%. There was a spike in Florida and it's now gone. There was a very big spike in Arizona. It's now gone. We have a vaccine that's coming. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine. I had it and I got better.
BIDEN: He did virtually nothing. And then he gets out of the hospital and he talks about, "Oh, don't worry. It's all going to be over soon." Come on. There's not another serious scientist in the world who thinks it's going to be over soon.
TRUMP: I didn't say "over soon." I say we're learning to live with it. We have no choice. We can't lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. As the president couldn't do that and go away for a year and a half until it disappears. I can't do that.
Q: At the event [in Oct. 2020] before you tested positive, there was an indoor reception. People were not wearing masks. Shouldn't the White House know better than to hold an event like that?
TRUMP: Well, they do a lot of testing in the White House; they test everybody including me. As far as the mask is concerned, I'm okay with masks. I tell people, "wear a mask." But just the other day, they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it.
Q: It didn't say that. I know that study.
TRUMP: That's what I heard. Hey, I'm President. I can't be in a basement. I have to be out.
Q: You can see people with a mask, though, right?
TRUMP: I can, but people with masks are catching it all the time. Look at the Governor of Virginia, he was known for a mask. If you look at Thom Tillis, a great guy, he always had a mask, and they caught it.
BIDEN: At a time when the science was saying, and his key people, Dr. Fauci were saying, "You should be taking these precautions."
TRUMP: Dr. Fauci said, "Don't wear a mask," right? Then he changed his mind.
BIDEN: Look, you and I know, the words of a president matter. No matter whether they're good, bad, or indifferent, they matter. And when a president doesn't wear a mask or makes fun of folks like me, when I was wearing a mask for a long time, then people say, "Well, it mustn't be that important." There should be a national standard. Remember what the president said to the governors, "Well, they're on their own; it's not my responsibility. The governors can do what they need to do." It is 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. His barometer of success to the economy is the market.
BIDEN: It depends on the state of the nature of the vaccine when it comes out, and how it's being distributed. But I would think that we should be talking about, depending on the continuation of the spread of the virus, we should be thinking about making it mandatory.
Q [to TRUMP]: You have been having rallies despite being exposed?
TRUMP: As President, I have to be out there. I can't be in a basement. I want to see everybody. And I also say to people all the time, it's risky doing it. [But the White House tests everyone regularly].
BIDEN: Before I came up here, I took another test. I've been taking them every day. If I had not passed that test, I didn't want to come here and expose anybody. And I just think it's just decency, to be able to determine whether or not you're clear. I'm less concerned about me, than the people working in the Secret Service and the camera staff.
John Hickenlooper: No. "Only way to regain our confidence and restart our economy is having the capacity to either test or vaccinate every American."
Corey Gardner: Yes. "HHS, through a number of its agencies, is actively leading critical prevention, containment, and supply-chain stability."
HARRIS: The Trump administration's approach to China has resulted in the loss of American lives, American jobs. There is a weird obsession that President Trump has with getting rid of whatever accomplishment was achieved by President Obama and Vice President Biden. They created the office responsible for monitoring pandemics. They got rid of it. There was a team of disease experts that President Obama and Vice President Biden dispatched to China to monitor what might happen. They pulled them out.
TRUMP: We would have lost far more people, far more people.
BIDEN: His own CDC Director says we could lose as many as another 200,000 people between now and the end of the year. And he said, if we just wear a mask, we can save half those numbers. Just a mask.
TRUMP: Without question, I would say, because things were going so well, the whole COVID, the China virus, as I call it, because it comes from China, I think it's a much more accurate term.
It's been very difficult; it's been so sad. We will get there, it's going to happen. But nobody's seen anything like probably since 1917.
Q: What did you learn from it?
TRUMP: I learned that life is very fragile, because [even with] strong people, all of a sudden they were dead. And it wasn't their fault. It was the fault of a country that could have stopped it. And I made a great deal with China. I feel so differently about that [China trade] deal. I don't view it the same way because of the horror of this disease, that could have been stopped at the border.
Q: Could you have done more to stop it?
TRUMP: I don't think so. I think what I did by closing up the country, I saved lives. I think we did a very good job.
TRUMP: We're very proud of the job we've done, and we've saved a lot of lives, a tremendous number of lives.
Q: We have 4% of the world's population, more than 20% of the cases, more than 20% of the deaths.
TRUMP: We have 20% of the cases because of the fact that we do much more testing. If we wouldn't do testing you wouldn't have cases. You would have very few cases.
TRUMP: They said at the Democrat convention they're going to do a national mandate. They never did it, because they've checked out and they didn't do it. And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden--they said we're going to do a national mandate on masks. But he didn't do it. He never did it.
BIDEN (tweeting a response): "To be clear: I am not currently president."
TRUMP: It is going to disappear. It's going to disappear, I still say it.
Q: But not if we don't take action, correct?
TRUMP: No, I still say it. It's going to disappear. I want to see people, and you want to see people. I want to see football games. I'm pushing very hard for Big Ten, I want to see Big Ten open. Let them play sports.
FactCheck: Testing in the US has been less than successful and has never reached levels that satisfy public health experts. After getting off the ground slowly and late, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, admits the US has missed 90% of coronavirus cases with its testing efforts.
Trump said the US has "developed a wide array of effective treatments, including a powerful anti-body treatment known as convalescent plasma that will save thousands of lives"
FactCheck: The US has not yet developed a single new treatment for coronavirus. The only treatments that have been shown to work against coronavirus are old treatments - dexamethasone, remdesivir, blood thinners and convalescent plasma, a 100-year-old last-ditch treatment.
FactCheck: The economy did add about 9.3 million jobs combined in May, June and July -- but that record increase immediately followed a much bigger record loss of about 22.2 million jobs in March and April. The economy is still down nearly 13 million jobs because of the coronavirus crisis. (Also, many of the jobs added were simply people returning to work after temporary layoffs.)
BIDEN: I'm going to ask every governor to step up. This isn't about freedom; it's about freedom for your neighbors. It's about a patriotic responsibility to protect your neighbors. The only way you can do that is to be socially distanced and wearing a mask when you're in public, when you're outside. This is the first time I've ever heard people say that doing something patriotic you can save other people's lives, impacts on their freedom. Give me a break; this is about saving lives.
Q: Would you be prepared to shut this country down again?
BIDEN: I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus. That is the fundamental flaw of this administration's thinking. In order to keep the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus. I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists.
BIDEN: I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus. That is the fundamental flaw of this administration's thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus. I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists.
HARRIS: There are different needs based on different communities and that's why we talk about the need to track actually racial disparities -- disparities based on region, geographic region and do that now. So that when we have a vaccine, those communities that are most in need, will get them. That policy and that approach will be guided by the public health experts, unlike what we have seen now which are the politics guiding a public health crisis.
BIDEN: I don't blame him for the COVID crisis. I blame him for walking away and not dealing with the solutions. Columbia University Medical School said if he had acted just one week earlier, he would have saved over 37,000 lives, 37,000 fewer people would have not passed away. Two weeks earlier over 50,000 people. This is about telling the American people the truth, letting the scientists speak, listening to the science and stepping out of the way.
"We despair that our government will ever rise to the challenges of our time. But we must give this country, our country, a chance to recover--and recovery is only possible with a change of leadership and new ideas," Yang continued.
If this president is reelected we know what will happen. The assault on the Affordable Care Act will continue until it's destroyed, taking insurance away from more than 20 million people--including more than 15 million people on Medicaid--and getting rid of the protections that President Obama and I passed for people who suffer from a preexisting condition.
Sanders said that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had hastened his decision to suspend his campaign, saying that continuing his presidential bid would only distract from efforts to combat the outbreak and damage it has done to the U.S. economy.
Sanders vowed to push forward with Medicare for All, saying the coronavirus is leading "millions" of laid off Americans to lose their health insurance. "In terms of health care, this current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is," he said. "We have always believed that health care must be considered as a human right, not an employee benefit, and we are right."
BIDEN: Medical experts indicate to me that it's more likely to be sometime into June, before we'd be in that position. But nobody knows for certain. What we do know is that it's a false choice to make, saying that either open the economy or everything goes to hell, or, in fact, you take care of the medical side. You cannot make this economy grow until you deal with the virus and that curve. You can't deal with the economic crisis until you deal with the health care crisis.
Q: When our savings account inevitably runs out due to him not being able to work right now, what is it that we sacrifice?
BIDEN: You should not have to sacrifice anything, not just because it's the fair thing for you be taken care of. You should not have to pay a penny for testing. You will be covered. Anything related to the cost of the coronavirus health care should be free, paid for out of the federal funds.
We should be using the Defense Production Act to do whatever we need to do, whether it's the rapidity with which testing has to take place that you get a result, to actually getting the tests done, to investing in whether or not you have protective gear for our first responder
BIDEN: No. But every single day, I speak to all five of my grandkids either on my phone, or I text with them. Two of them, Beau's children, live a mile as a crow flies from our home. We sit on our back porch and they sit out on the lawn with two chairs there, and we talk about being home from school, and who's driving whom crazy, and so on and so forth, but at least I get to see them.
Q: What should President Trump do differently regarding coronavirus?
When he talks to governors, he says, be careful when you talk to that governor, they're not very good, or calls another governor a snake. This is not personal. It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump, nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything. One of the governors I spoke to, when they called and asked for help in terms of masks and other things, the president allegedly told her that, no, you take care of yourself. That's not my responsibility.
"The Trump administration must rescind this corporate giveaway to Gilead and make any treatment and vaccine free for everybody," added the Vermont senator.
Voiceover: The warnings were there
Headline: Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded
Voice: Millions of Americans at risk
Text: 10 million Americans were expected to become ill
Voice: But Donald Trump failed to act
Video: Donald Trump smiling for interview
Text: Jan.22: 6 cases
Reporter: "Are you worried about a pandemic at this point?"
Trump: "No, not at all; we have it under control; it's gonna be just fine."
CNN headline 2/25: Top officials are warning that the spread of the coronavirus in the US appears "inevitable."
Text: Feb.26: 257 cases
Reporter: "Do you agree with that assessment?"
Trump: "Well I don't think it's 'inevitable.'"
Politico headline 2/28: On coronavirus fears: President Trump blaming the "fake news"
Trump: "This is their new hoax."
Text: Mar.3: 359 cases; more than 20 deaths
[Note: Trump sued over the use of the word "hoax," noting that it referred to the Democratic response, not the virus]
Q: Many believe those spending bills were a crucial part of stabilizing the economy back then. Would you support bailouts for industries that are being crushed by the Coronavirus outbreak now?
Sanders: I voted against the bailout because I believed that the illegal behavior being done by the people on Wall Street should not be rewarded by a bailout. And today, by the way, those banks are more prosperous and own more assets, by and large, than they did back then. They're bigger now than they were then. I thought at the time that in the midst of massive income and wealth inequality, the people on top [should pay for the] bail out. Joe [Biden] voted for that. I voted against it. But to answer your question where we are right now, we need to stabilize the economy, but we can't repeat what we did in 2008. Our job right now is to tell every working person in this country, "you are not going to suffer."
We have to have the best science in the world telling us what can stay open and what need be closed. Like I said earlier, the idea that we are closing schools, which I understand, but not being able to provide lunches for people who in fact need the school lunch program to get by.
I can understand the decision made to close places where a hundred or 50 people or more gather, but how do you deal with the things that necessarily have to be kept going and what's the way to do that? There should be a national standard for that. It should be coming out of the situation room right now.
Bernie Sanders: Well, first thing we have got to do, is to shut this president up right now, because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with unfactual information which is confusing the general public. Second of all, make sure that every person in this country finally understands that when they get sick with the coronavirus that all payments will be made, that they don't have to worry about coming up with money for testing. They don't have to worry about coming up with money for treatment. We have to make sure that our hospitals have the ventilators that they need, have the IC units that they need. Right now, we have a lack of medical personnel. Bottom line from an economic point of view, say to the American people, if you lose your job, you will be made whole. You're not going to lose income.
One of the reasons that we are unprepared and have been unprepared is we don't have a system. We got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide healthcare to all people. In a good year without the epidemic, we're losing up to 60,000 people who die every year because they don't get to a doctor on time. It's clearly this crisis is only making a bad situation worse.
Biden: No. The World Health Organization offered the [coronavirus] testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. [Trump] said something like, "We have the best scientists in America," or something to that effect. We are not prepared for this. I agree with Bernie, we're in a situation where we have to now be providing for the hospitals that are going to be needed, needed now.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.
Joe Biden: The World Health Organization [WHO] offered the testing kits that they have available, now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. [Trump] said something like, "We have the best scientists in America," or something to that effect.
Bernie Sanders: This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.
Fact-check posted Mar.6 by Politico.com: On Jan. 11, Chinese scientists posted the genome of the mysterious new virus, and within a week virologists in Berlin had produced the first diagnostic test for the disease. The WHO had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries. The US was not among them. Why the US declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily, remains a perplexing question.
A: I think we use all of the tools that make sense. If using the National Guard--that is something that has to be done. What I worry about is not only how we respond aggressively to the virus, but also how we respond aggressively to the economic fallout of a global recession. What we've got to say to every worker in America, you know what? Don't panic. You'll be able to pay your mortgage, because you're going to get a check.
BIDEN: Anyone who shows up to be tested for Coronavirus, or gets Coronavirus treated, would be held harmless. There are certain things you cannot deport an undocumented person for and that would be one of them. We want that. It's in the interests of everyone. And those folks who are the xenophobic folks out there, it's even in their interest that that [infected person] come forward, because it keeps the spread from moving more rapidly.
Q: What about closing the Mexican border during the pandemic?
BIDEN: Our future rests upon the Latino community being fully integrated. If we do not invest in their future, everything that the xenophobes are concerned about will in fact get worse, not better. We should be embracing, bringing them in, just like what happened with the Irish immigrants after the famine, just what happened with the Italians, et cetera. We've been through this before, xenophobia is a disease.
STEYER: If it were necessary to take the vaccine to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus through the United States, yes, I would. But let me talk for a second about Coronavirus. Because what we're seeing is that this is a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. Back in 2014, there was an Ebola outbreak in Africa; President Obama did a fantastic job of controlling it. We're seeing the exact opposite from this president. We're seeing a president who just asked Congress for money to deal with it today. The World Health Organization declared an emergency in January. So what we're seeing here, the Coronavirus may or may not turn into a worldwide epidemic. But what we know for sure is that it's going to have a huge impact on the world economy as we try to deal with it.
BLOOMBERG: No. Number one, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. Number two, he's been defunding Centers for Disease Control. So, we don't have the experts in place that we need. I hope he's right that the virus doesn't come here, that nobody gets sick. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing. And the president doesn't seem to believe in science. We are as exposed to this kind of thing as we have ever been, probably more so.
Q: What would you do if you were president right now?
BLOOMBERG: You have to marshal the teams. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a team in place. I can tell you what we did in City Hall back in New York. For Hurricane Sandy, for 9/11, for the swine flu--we were ready for it, in the sense that we had played out what would happen, how we would communicate with people, how we would distribute drugs, how we would include the hospitals & the nurses.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, we've got to meet 21st century security threats with a forward-looking security policy. This president's idea of how to keep us safe is a big wall. That is a 17th century security solution. I would be making sure that we have the coordination across the federal government for something that is a health issue, an economic issue, a security issue, and needs to have an integrated approach. But it's not enough to integrate within the United States. We've got to integrate internationally. The virus does not care what country it is in. And in order to deal with an issue like that, you need international partnerships and global relationships of the very kind that this president is tearing to shreds on an almost daily basis. This is why we need first and foremost, to restore the credibility of the US among the nations of the world.
KLOBUCHAR: Today, when the president addressed this, he [mentioned] the CDC; I think that's important, because I believe in science. But I also think, as we look at diseases and how they spread, we have to think ahead. And a lot of this, when you look at the budgets and how he has handled this, he's tried to cut the CDC in the past. He has tried to cut the organization that works with the rest of the world when it comes to pandemics. Democrats in the Senate have asked for something like $7 billion, $8 billion. And I think we have to be ready. And the number one thing is to listen to the doctors and call the doctors, but the other thing is to plan ahead. And how I would do this as your president is, one, make sure we have adequate medical help and research, that we have invested in education.
WARREN: This really is serious. We know that, with any virus that develops, the most vulnerable will be our children, seniors, people with compromised immune systems. First we think about allocation--our overall approach. I'm going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now spending on his racist wall at our southern border and divert it to work on the Coronavirus.
Q: V.P. Pence is in charge of the U.S. response?
WARREN: We need someone in the White House who is coordinating all of the work and all of the messaging and all of the information. Do keep in mind that this vice president has dealt with a public health emergency before, in Indiana [with HIV]. And what was his approach? It was to put politics over science and let a serious virus expand in his state and cost people lives. He is not the person who should be in charge.
BIDEN: We've been through this once. We've been through this with the virus that occurred with Ebola in Africa. I was deeply involved on that. We were able to keep the disease overseas. The few that came to the United States, we were able to put together the following: We set up an office within the president's office to deal with infectious diseases, number one. Number two, we significantly increased the funding for NIH, National Institute of Health, as well as the CDC, to immediately begin to work on vaccines, which worked. We moved. Thirdly, what we did was we made sure that we were able to be honest with the American people, so that we had complete unity between the scientists and the president.
BIDEN: I think it's important that we understand that you have to have a president in charge. What I would do were I president now, I would not be taking China's word for it. I would insist that China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it's from, how far along it is. Because that is not happening now. And we should be allowed to do that and they should want us to do that, because we have genuine experts who know how to confront these things. But we need to invest [in science agencies] immediately. We should have done it from the beginning, the moment the virus appeared. But we're getting late, but we've got good scientists. And I just hope the president gets on the same page as the scientists.
What do we have to do? Whether or not the issue is climate change, which is clearly a global crisis requiring international cooperation, or infectious diseases like Coronavirus, requiring international cooperation, we have to work and expand the World Health Organization.
Obviously, we have to make sure the CDC, the NIH, our infectious departments, are fully funded. This is a global problem. We've got to work with countries all the over the world to solve it.
BIDEN: What we did with Ebola--I was part of making sure that pandemic did not get to the United States, saved millions of lives. And what we did, we set up, I helped set up that office on pandemic diseases. We increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget. And our president today--and he's wiped all that out. [With Ebola], we did it; we stopped it.
Q: So, more funding?
BIDEN: I would immediately restore the funding. [Trump] cut the funding for CDC. He tried to cut the funding for NIH. He cut the funding for the entire effort. And here's the deal. I would be on the phone with China and making it clear, we are going to need to be in your country; you have to be open; you have to be clear; we have to know what's going on; we have to be there with you, and insist on it and insist, insist, insist. I could get that done. No one up here has ever dealt internationally with any of these world leaders. I'm the only one that has.
SANDERS: Well, for start, I would not do what Trump has done and cut funding for those federal agencies which deal with infectious crises. We would put more money into research to make sure that we are best prepared to what I fear may be happening more and more frequently. And we've got to go to the best experts that we can. But we need a global response to this global crisis.
Q: Is cutting off access with China, is that wise?
SANDERS: I don't think you want to cut off access. I think you want to put up protocols to do our best to make sure that we take a look at anybody who is coming into this country, I suspect. But I don't know you have to stop travel from China.