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Joe Biden attacked President Trump at the presidential debate on Tuesday for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing him of panicking and failing to prepare for the crisis when he was warned about it in February.

The big picture: "It is what it is because you are who you are," Biden said, alluding to an answer Trump gave in an interview with "Axios on HBO" when asked about the 150,000+ death toll from the coronavirus. Trump responded by claiming that Biden would not have shut down travel from China in the early days of the pandemic, and he defended his administration's mass production of ventilators and protective equipment.

What they're saying: "The president has no plan. He hasn't laid out anything. He knew all the way back in February how serious this crisis was. He knew it was a deadly disease. What did he do? He's on tape as acknowledging he knew it. He said he didn't tell us or give people a warning of it because he didn't want to panic the American people," Biden said.

  • "You should get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap on your golf course and go in the Oval Office and bring together the Democrats, Republicans and fund what needs to be done now to save lives."

Trump responded: "If we would have listened to you, the country would have been left wide open. Millions of people would have died, not 200,000, and one person is too much. It's China's fault. It should have never happened. They stopped it from going in, but it was China's fault."

  • "And by the way, when you talk about numbers. You don't know how many people died in China. You don't know how many people died in Russia. You don't know how many people died in India. They don't exactly give you a straight count, just so you understand."

Go deeper

Fauci says vaccine rollout’s "bumps and hiccups” won’t last long

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: the Washington Post, Pool/Getty Images

Despite the slow roll out of vaccines so far, NIAID director Anthony Fauci says the COVID-19 vaccination campaign will ramp up fast enough that Americans should see "a degree of normality in the fall."

Driving the news: President-elect Biden is planning a program that will have "much more interaction between the federal government and the states than there are right now" in order to reach his goal of 1 million vaccines a day for 100 days, Fauci tells Axios.

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
Jan 7, 2021 - Health

China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine 78% effective in Brazil trials

São Paulo Gov. Joao Doria holds a box of the CoronaVac vaccine during a press conference. Photo: Alexandre Schneider via Getty Images

A coronavirus vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac is 78% effective, Brazil officials announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Regulators in other countries are closely following the Phase 3 trials in Brazil. If the vaccine is approved for use, it could help fill a gap in access to coronavirus vaccines for many low- and middle-income countries.