- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2020

Joseph R. Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, laid out his plan to reopen the country on Sunday with an emphasis on ensuring widespread testing before the U.S. can return to normal.

In a New York Times op-ed, the former vice president said continuing social distancing practices would be the first step in his plan, in order to “significantly” cut down on the number of cases in the country.

“As we prepare to reopen America, we have to remember what this crisis has taught us: The administration’s failure to plan, to prepare, to honestly assess and communicate the threat to the nation led to catastrophic results. We cannot repeat those mistakes,” he wrote.

He called on President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to the fullest extent to ensure that frontline health care workers have the resources they need to effectively and safely combat the outbreak.

Mr. Biden slammed the Trump administration’s approach to testing, saying it’s far behind where the nation needs to be. In his plan, he called for antibody testing — a product President Trump’s task force is in the process of approving — to help local governments prepare to an uptick in cases the country does eventually reopen.

“An effective plan to beat the virus is the ultimate answer to how we get our economy back on track. So we should stop thinking of the health and economic responses as separate. They are not,” Mr. Biden wrote.

To address the risk of a coronavirus flare-up when the economy reopens, Mr. Biden said he would put together a task force to look into how businesses could operate safely, such as implementing new layouts with more space between tables at restaurants.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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