Biden warns of 400K deaths, calls on GSA to act
In a round table discussion with health care workers on Wednesday, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said as many as 200,000 more people in the U.S. could be dead by January - and pressured the General Services Administration to share key data on COVID-19 with his transition team to help combat the pandemic as he prepares to take office.
Lisa Bernhard produced this report.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden relayed an alarming estimate Wednesday (18 November).
In a round table discussion with health care workers, Biden said as many as 200,000 more people in the U.S. could be dead by January.
"Maybe exceed 400,000 people by the time we get sworn in." That dire warning came as President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim that he has won the election and his administration refuses to share key data on COVID-19, including how new vaccines will be distributed to the country's more than 300 million people.
One person, in particular, standing in Biden's way: Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, who must recognize Biden's election victory so that a transition of power can begin.
But so far Murphy has refused to do that.
Biden on Wednesday upped the pressure on her to act.
"The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is.
And then they have to have access to all the data and information that the government possesses to be prepared.
And it doesn't require that there has to be an absolute winner - it says the 'apparent winner.'
And we've been unable to get access to the kind of things we need to know….
So I just want to tell you, that's the only slowdown right now that we have." But with many states hitting new records daily for cases, hospitalizations and deaths - Biden is forging ahead with his own COVID plans.
On Wednesday he heard from COVID ICU nurse Mary Turner: "I myself have held the hand of dying patients, who are crying out for their family that they can't see.
I've taken care of coworkers as they fight for their life on a ventilator, and knowing that they got sick because the hospital or their government hasn't protected them." Congress has shown no sign of moving forward on a coronavirus relief package, and Trump has not been seen in public since he played golf over the weekend.
"I'm hoping that the reason my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president, and hopefully when he's gone they'll be more willing to do what they know should be done, has to be done, in order to save the communities they live in." Democrats have proposed a $2.2 trillion spending package, while Senate Republicans have sought a much narrower $500 billion bill.