COVID-19 Takes the Stage at First Presidential Debate

As we have all been sitting in uncertainty, trying to find ourselves out of this COVID-19 mayhem, it’s not surprising the pandemic played a prominent role in the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden that took place last night.

COVID-19 has become a political controversy, where Biden targeted Trump’s plan of action by saying that his lockdown was not quick or even efficient enough to protect the people as much as they should have been protected.

How did Trump respond?

Trump quickly defended himself by talking about how Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and even leaders from the Democratic party, condoned his plan of action as the virus approached. Biden also stated that Trump didn’t provide the necessities for aiding the people under his government. Trump fired right back, reminding Biden that he supplied as many masks, gloves and ventilators as possible even with the shortages.

The vaccine

The debate quickly moved from arguing about the lockdown efficiency to the reliability of the new vaccine. Biden announced his distrust in Trump, pointing to skepticism in the COVID-19 vaccine. During the debate, Biden said, “In terms of a whole notion of a vaccine, we’re for a vaccine, but I don’t trust him at all. Nor do you. What we trust is a scientist.”

Biden also stated he believes that there are plenty of good hospitals and labs around and thinks it is unreasonable to have candidates who rely on Trump to be creating the virus’s vaccine, as Trump would also have to be the one to approve of it.

Presidential rallies

Biden also attacked the fact that Trump holds large rallies that could contribute to transmission during the pandemic. Donald Trump defended himself by saying that they were held outdoors and that he couldn’t control how many people support him and wanted to hear what he has to say. Trump implied that shutdowns have been used as a political apparatus: “If you look at Pennsylvania, if you look at certain states that have been shut down, they have Democrat governors, all, one of the reasons they shut down is because they want to keep it shut down until after the election on November 3rd.”

Trump also accused Biden of unnecessarily wanting to keep the shutdowns in place, saying, “[Biden] wants to shut down the country. We just went through it. We had to, because we didn’t know anything about the disease. We’ve learned a lot, but he wants to shut it down.”

What about the swine flu?

As much as Biden struck Trump’s course of action, Trump snapped back with, “You didn’t do very well in Swine Flu. H1-N1, you were a disaster.”

Biden claims that, with his steps for progress, “14,000 people died, not 200,000,” intending to provide a comparison in the death toll for each of their experiences when handling a tragic virus outbreak.

Research shows that the death toll may be higher for COVID-19 but the cases demonstrate only a portion of the past Swine Flu cases. The numerical values do not portray the severity of each virus on the individual.

The Swine Flu was spread easier but had a much smaller fatality rate, according to a statement Fauci made in a live streaming video interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association in February of 2020.

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Brianne Hailey-Killeen

Brianne Hailey Killeen is a senior at Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, New Jersey. She is also a Journalism Intern with the Meadowlands Chamber and Meadowlands Media, where she uses her passion in journalism and writing to articulate helpful, yet significant pieces for the MC's publications. Brianne can be contacted at brianne_hailey@aol.com

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