Awaiting Final Count, Biden Says He’s Already Preparing to Fight COVID

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In a late-night address to Americans Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden declared his confidence that the remaining votes to be tallied would confirm his victory over President Trump. He vowed to address the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic downturn as soon as he took office, telling Americans that he was already meeting with public health officials so he could hit the ground running.

While neither candidate has won the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency, votes tallied throughout the day have given Biden an edge in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. Still, no network has called the race. Without a winner declared, it was unclear if Biden would speak, but at 11 p.m., he took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware.

“What’s becoming clear each hour is that a record number of Americans of all races, faiths, religions chose change over more of the same,” Biden said, appearing triumphant. “They’ve given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism. They made it clear they want the country to come together, not continue to pull apart.”

Biden promised to make addressing the pandemic his first order of business, and noted that he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, had already met with public health experts and economists to discuss a path forward. “We want everyone to know, on day one, we’re going to put our plan to control this virus into action,” he said. “We can’t save any of the lives that have been lost, but we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead.” (Moments after he finished speaking, Bloomberg reported that Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, had been infected with COVID-19.)

And, like the president under whom he served until Trump took office, Biden urged unity and compassion among Americans of all political parties. “We may be opponents,” he said, “but we are not enemies.”

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