Former Vice President Joe Biden has outlined an ambitious agenda for voters as they head to the polls this Tuesday. But if elected, his success will largely be determined by his ability to tackle one issue alone: a virus that has infected millions, killed more than 225,000 people and which could infect as many as 200,00 more people this fall.
In tackling COVID-19, Biden’s team says that the former vice president will enlist top experts, operate off a detailed playbook, and coordinate federal agencies better than President Donald Trump. But, ultimately, the argument within Biden world is that his ability to significantly slow the spread of the virus will depend largely on his ability to regain the trust of Americans, many of whom are fed up with the federal government’s response to the pandemic, or who have adopted the current president’s skepticism of public health measures.
One senior campaign official said the plan for rebuilding trust is rooted, in part, in the belief that Biden’s sheer presence in the White House will put Americans at ease. If Biden himself follows public health guidelines, encircles himself with the nation’s leading experts on infectious diseases and allows health agencies to frequently brief the public on the latest COVID-19 data, the thinking goes, then Americans will follow.