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President Biden faulted the Trump administration’s handling of vaccine distribution in an interview with “CBS Evening News” that aired before the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Biden was asked about the time frame for getting to herd immunity, saying the country cannot afford to stay at the current pace of COVID-19 vaccination. He also said it would be difficult to reach herd immunity before the end of summer.
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“The circumstance relating to how the [Trump] administration was handling COVID was even more dire than we thought,” Biden said. “We thought they had indicated there was a lot more vaccine available. And it didn’t turn out to be the case. So that’s why we’ve ramped up every way we can.”
Biden also addressed ongoing school closures, saying the situation amounts to a “national emergency.”
“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely. Safely,” Biden said.
He said that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would be coming out as soon as Wednesday with minimum standards for school buildings to reopen.
CBS began to release excerpts of the interview on Friday. In the earlier excerpts, Biden said that the COVID rescue package likely would not include an increase in the minimum wage. He also said that Democrats would hold firm on issuing $1,400 checks, but are prepared to negotiate on the income thresholds at which the checks will phase out.
Biden also said that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Iran as a precondition of returning to talks over its nuclear program. Biden also addressed relations with China, saying that things will go differently than under President Trump.
“We need not have a conflict. But there’s gonna be extreme competition,” Biden said. “I’m not gonna do it the way Trump did. We’re gonna focus on international rules of the road.”
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