Joe Biden claimed he could potentially shut the United States down again to fight the coronavirus pandemic if elected president. 

The newly confirmed Democratic presidential nominee said he would take the advice of scientists to ‘save lives’ as he slammed President Trump for concentrating on the economy instead of working ‘to fix the virus’. 

He blasted it as the ‘fundamental flaw’ of the current administration in not believing the coronavirus outbreak had to be pushed back before the country can start running again. 

Biden made the comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News anchor David Muir that will air in full on Sunday.  

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In an interview with ABC News, Joe Biden said he would shut down the country again if scientists advised it was needed to fight coronavirus if he is elected president

‘I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,’ Biden said during his first joint interview alongside his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, since officially becoming nominees. 

‘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,’ he added. 

The interview was conducted just hours after Biden accepted the Democratic nomination in a 25-minute speech at the National Convention in which he claimed that Trump had ‘cloaked America in darkness’ and blasted his handling of the outbreak. 

‘Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation,’ Biden said. ‘He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.’ 

Trump hit back Thursday morning stating that where Biden saw ‘darkness’, he saw ‘American greatness’. 

Biden has been leading in the polls and Republicans will be looking to next week’s Republican convention to give Trump a bounce. 

The latest RealClearPolitics average of national polls has Biden with a 7.4 point advantage over Trump and slight leads in several of the battleground states which are a key to victory in the Electoral College. 

Biden’s boost in the polls in the last few weeks has been credited to voters’ unhappiness at Trump’s handling of the pandemic, with some believing it has ravaged his reelection chances. 

The former Vice President’s campaign has included a focus on the changes he would make to fight back the virus, including mask mandates and improved testing. 

Earlier on Friday, however, President Mike Pence took aim at those who have criticized the administration’s coronavirus response and claimed that the country’s economic recovery was at risk if Biden is elected. 

Trump hit back Friday morning at Biden’s criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said that where Biden sees ‘darkness’ he sees ‘American Greatness’

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 5,600,100 on Friday afternoon. Pictured a patient in Los Angeles is transported from hospital in Los Angeles in July 

‘So many of the speeches at the Democratic national convention were so negative,’ Pence said on CBS This Morning. ‘They presented such a grim vision for America.

‘Joe Biden last night said that democracy’s on the ballot, that character’s on the ballot. The economy’s on the ballot,’ Pence added, hailing an economic recovery whose ‘only real threat’ was a Biden presidency.

‘We lost 22 million jobs in the course of this coronavirus pandemic. But because of the solid foundation that President Trump poured of less taxes, less regulation, more American energy, more free and fair trade, we’ve seen 9 million Americans already go back to work,’ Pence added. 

The Vice President also said that the RNC next week will focus on what Trump has accomplished, including on the economy and his coronavirus response.

Pence promised a heavy focus on GOP support for law and order and said the Democrats had failed to acknowledge violence plaguing some U.S. cities.

‘We’re going to make sure that the American people see the choice here,’ Pence said.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 5,600,100 on Friday afternoon with 174,761 deaths. 

Deaths across the country have been plateauing for the last three weeks with an average of 1,000 Americans dying per day. The average number of deaths was 1,027 on Thursday.

The number of cases, however, have been declining steadily for a month.

The average number of COVID-19 cases across the country per day was at about 46,000 on Thursday, which is the lowest it has been in two months.

The current daily case average is down considerably from the record high of 77,000 cases reported on a single day back in mid-July.

Deaths are a lagging indicator and can potentially rise several weeks after new cases start to decline.

The current daily death rate, while still high, remains below levels seen back in April when 2,000 people a day, on average, were dying from COVID-19. 

‘Hopefully this week and next week you’re going to start seeing the death rate really start to drop,’ CDC director Robert Redfield  said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Thursday. 

He said it was a direct result of mitigation measures, including mask wearing and closing down bars.

Redfield said it can often take weeks before the effects of those measures are reflected in the daily numbers due to the lag between deaths and positive tests.

‘It is important to understand these interventions are going to have a lag, that lag is going to be three to four weeks,’ he said.

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