Vice President Mike Pence has responded to Joe Biden‘s acceptance speech criticism of the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he believes there is “a miracle around the corner”.
In an interview on CNN on Friday, Mr Pence, the leader of the coronavirus task force, was asked how many Americans would lose their lives due to the pandemic by the end of the year.
“As of this morning, 174,000 have lost their lives to this pandemic”, CNN’s John Berman asked, pointing out around 1000 new recorded deaths across the country on Thursday.
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The vice president responded by insisting that the country is close to developing a vaccine before lashing out at Democratic presidential nominee Mr Biden’s criticism of the administration at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
“I got a newsflash for Mr Biden,” Mr Pence said. “We think there is a miracle around the corner.”
“We believe it’s very likely that we will have one or more vaccines for the coronavirus before the end of this year,” he said. “All that is attributed to president Trump’s leadership.”
Mr Pence talked about the president’s suspension of travel from China, saying the move bought the country “an invaluable amount of time” to develop a vaccine.
The Vice President insisted that Mr Biden had called the president’s decision to block travel “xenophobic”, a claim that fact-checker PolitiFact has shown as largely untrue.
“Had we waited and not suspended travel to China and not been able to stand up our response as Mr Biden wanted us to do we’d have lost hundreds and thousands of more Americans,” Mr Pence told the broadcaster.
Kate Bedingfeld, Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager, previously told CNN that Mr Biden backed the travel ban to prevent the spread of infection.
“Mr Biden supports travel bans that are guided by medical experts, advocated by public health officials, and backed by a full strategy,” she said in April. “Science supported this ban, therefore he did too.”
The comments come following Mr Biden’s Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech on Thursday where he vowed to move the country beyond Donald Trump‘s “season of darkness”.
Mr Biden hit out against Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic claiming that the president “still doesn’t have a plan”.
“Well, I do. … We’ll build back better,” the former vice president said on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
Mr Pence continued to praise the president’s leadership claiming the president had successfully developed testing and increase of medical supplies across the country.
The US has recorded more than 5.59 million cases of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic hit the country in March.