President-elect Joe Biden warned Americans on Tuesday to steel themselves for the “darkest days” of the coronavirus pandemic, which he said are still to come.
“One thing I promise you about my leadership during this crisis: I’m going to tell it to you straight. I’m going to tell you the truth. And here’s the simple truth: Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, ahead of the Christmas holiday.
Acknowledging how difficult it is to spend the holidays apart from loved ones, Biden urged Americans to nonetheless “care enough for each other” to stay distanced “just a little bit longer.”
“We need to prepare ourselves, to steel our spines,” he said. “As frustrating as it is to hear, it’s going to take patience, persistence and determination to beat this virus. There will be no time to waste in taking the steps we need to turn this crisis around.”
Biden, who is 78, received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday.
He said in his remarks that he had “absolute confidence” in the COVID-19 vaccine and believed it would play a pivotal role in battling the pandemic. But, he cautioned, “we’re in short supply. Taking the vaccine from a vial into the arm of millions of Americans is one of the biggest operational challenges the United States has ever faced.”
Biden also commended the House and Senate for passing a $900 billion pandemic aid package this week. The legislation, however, is “far from perfect,” he said, vowing to push for a more substantial package once he’s president.
More than 18 million people in the U.S. have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Of that number, more than 322,000 have died.
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