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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 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate — Neil Young demands Spotify take down music over vaccine misinformation — Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
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.