Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Biden's new COVID warning

Mike Allen
Joe Biden
Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Biden, who has vowed to be clear-eyed and straight about the pandemic, plans a renewed warning in remarks on COVID-19 in Wilmington today, a transition official tells Axios.

Driving the news: Echoing a CDC forecast from last week, Biden is expected to say that, tragically, the infection rates and the number of deaths are expected to increase in the coming weeks.

  • Biden plans to call out the Trump administration for falling short on the pace of vaccine distribution, and will discuss his own plan to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. 

Why it matters: Although Americans have been getting blunt talk from their governors and from doctors on TV, President Trump has been AWOL on COVID since the election.

  • Biden is intentionally filling the vacuum, addressing the nation in terms that aim to balance hope and realism.

With a bluntness that has been missing from this administration, Biden talked Dec. 14 about "this dark winter of the pandemic," then said last week: "Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us."

  • Biden has said he has a plan to aim to administer 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days (by May 1).

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who'll be Biden's chief medical adviser on COVID, on Sunday repeated his grim "surge upon a surge" prediction for post-Christmas cases.

  • Fauci told Dana Bash on CNN's State of the Union: "I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse."

What we're watching: Straight talk is easier when it's on Trump's watch. Biden's test will be to be just as blunt after he takes the oath.

Go deeper