President Donald Trump said Friday during an update on the success of Operation Warp Speed in developing coronavirus vaccines that there would be no national lockdown as long as he is still president.
At Friday’s White House media briefing, the president made clear the contrast between him and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden when it comes to embracing Americans’ personal liberties amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But in updating the country on the record-setting pace at which multiple vaccines are being developed — “Millions of doses will soon be going out the door,” and “as soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population” — the president took a moment to remind Americans how their lives could look should Biden ultimately win the race.
And he didn’t even have to say Biden’s name.
“While healthy Americans have gone back to work and to school, we continue to spare no expense to protect the elderly and the vulnerable. According to some estimates, a national lockdown costs $50 billion a day and hundreds of thousands of jobs every single day,” Trump said.
WATCH: President Trump says his admin. will not be going to a coronavirus lockdown, and "hopefully the — whatever happens in the future, who knows which admin. it will be" will also not go to a lockdown. pic.twitter.com/tX4x6gu8R8
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 13, 2020
“I will not go — this administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully, the — whatever happens in the future — who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell.”
Trump then assured Americans concerned about being asked to risk their livelihoods and mental health that as long as he’s running the show, they will be protected from federal government overreach.
“But I can tell you, this administration will not go to a lockdown. There won’t be necessity. Lockdowns cost lives, and they cost a lot of problems,” he said.
The statement from Trump was likely a shot across the bow of Biden, whose newly formed 12-person coronavirus advisory board recently saw a member promote the idea of another prolonged lockdown in the coming months.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and was tapped by Biden to be on the panel, floated the possibility of locking down the country for four to six weeks.
“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, states, county governments,” he told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.
“We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down.”
The thought of another long and damaging lockdown is not only controversial with regard to arguable forthcoming violations of constitutional liberties.
A top World Health Organization official has said lockdowns should not be “the primary means of” controlling the coronavirus.
“We really do appeal to all world leaders: Stop using lockdown as your primary control method,” Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy on COVID-19, said last month.
WATCH: Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's Special Envoy on Covid-19, tells Andrew Neil: 'We really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method'. Watch the full interview here: https://t.co/XLdaedsKVS #SpectatorTV @afneil | @davidnabarro pic.twitter.com/1M4xf3VnXQ
— The Spectator (@spectator) October 9, 2020
Nabarro said, “We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus.”
Biden has often touted science when speaking of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.
But the data suggests that lockdowns of business and activities lead to poverty and emotional distress, while contributing to substance abuse and mental health issues.
With the presidential election is still contested nearly two weeks after Election Day, Trump took an opportunity Friday to remind Americans of the stakes of the outcome, at least with regard to their immediate liberties and economic health.
Trump has walked a tight rope these last eight months to protect the health of the American people while also attempting to avoid bankrupting families and small business.
A positive election outcome for Biden could see all of that work undermined, and could leave many Americans financially destitute and at the mercy of an authoritarian government for no good reason.