However, on Wednesday the Biden-Harris campaign launched their transition website buildbackbetter.com, and his administration is expected to take an entirely different approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
“They are on top of this,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine who has consulted with the campaign.
But the challenges facing a Biden administration are substantial.
“They are going to be inheriting a massive crisis and they have to reboot in many ways, try to convince the country that tamping down the virus and restarting the economy are the same thing,” said Dr. Wachter, who adds that chief among those challenges is convincing the public to wear masks.
“It became extraordinarily partisanized, where you demonstrated which team you were on with mask wearing… how to convince half of the country that doesn’t ‘believe’ in masks that it’s important is going to be a huge effort,” he said.
Dr. Wachter also wants to see a major national investment in testing and a comprehensive strategy around how to use testing, including how to use testing to safely resume in-person classes.
The nation is also currently facing a major surge; the number of new cases was over 100,000 on Wednesday for the first time in the pandemic and 17 states have recorded a record number of hospitalizations.
“If there’s a huge national surge still in place on inauguration day, it wouldn’t be shocking that there is a push to some level of national lockdown or at least taking a big step backwards to try to get things under control,” the doctor said.
If this surge follows the pattern of previous surges, it would subside by the inauguration which is still two months away, although the holiday season is expected to lead to an increase in group gatherings.