Biden calls on Americans to take individual responsibility for taming virus as US records daily record of 200,000 cases

 ‘Every decision we make can save a life’, says president-elect

Matt Mathers
Saturday 28 November 2020 13:45
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<p>Biden has made tackling the coronavirus his administration’s top priority</p>

Biden has made tackling the coronavirus his administration’s top priority

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President-elect Joe Biden has called on all Americans to take individual responsibility in helping to bring the coronavirus crisis under control.

Mr Biden said the federal government alone can not defeat Covid-19 as he issued a post-Thanksgiving plea to Twitter on Saturday.

His intervention came as the US recorded another new daily record number of infections, according to New York Times data.

Health officials on 27 November reported 199,105 new coronavirus cases - the highest number since the pandemic began, the data show.

That figure soared by almost 100,000 from 26 November's total, although the 103,116 infections recorded on Thanksgiving may have been artificially low due to fewer people getting tested during the holiday.

Hospitals in towns and cities across the country are at breaking point, with a top medic warning earlier this week the US faces "it's darkest days in modern medical history" if the resurgent virus is not tamed.

In a clip from his Thanksgiving address posted to Twitter, the president-elect, 78, said his incoming government would do all it could to tackle the virus, but that all Americans must also play their part in helping bring the crisis under control.

"We all have a role to play in beating the crisis," said the incoming commander-in-chief. "The federal government has vast powers to combat the virus.

"But the federal government can't do this alone. Each of us has a responsibility in our own lives to do what we can to slow the virus."

He added: “Every decision we make matters. Every decision we make can save a life. None of these steps we’re asking people to take are political statements. Every one of them is based on science.”

The US's new record number of infections comes in a week when the country's top infectious disease experts and public health officials urged people to stay home for the holidays.

Dr Anthony Fauci, who has played a leading role in the nation's response to the pandemic, warned Thanksgiving could serve as "surge superimposed on a surge" of infections.

He and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans not to travel over the holidays.

"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19," the CDC said in a statement earlier this week. "Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

Despite those warnings, millions of Americans got on planes, trains and public transport to visited loved ones.

America has recorded 13.2 million coronavirus cases and 265,000 deaths since the pandemic began to take hold in March, and with Christmas just around the corner, those numbers look likely to continue climbing in the months ahead.

The infection has been running riot since September when Mr Trump launched an all-out assault on hanging onto the White House, crisscrossing the country for scores of campaign events that were sometimes attended by thousands of his supporters.

And late last month Dr Fauci said the outgoing president hadn't attended a coronavirus task force meeting "for months".

Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was effectively sidelined by Mr Trump earlier this year after publicly criticising his administration's light-touch approach to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden has vowed to make bringing the virus under control his administration's top priority, a pledge underlined by the appointment of Ron Klain, a former Ebola tsar in the Obama government, as his chief of staff.

On Friday, Dr Fauci said he is willing to take on a bigger role once Mr Biden enters the Oval Office.

“I’m perfectly comfortable with the role that I’m in, but certainly if the president of the United States wants me to do something else, I’d seriously consider it," he said.

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