Joe Biden on Thursday laid out an eight-step plan to reopen the economy safely and restore consumer confidence, seeking to strike a contrast with President Donald Trump’s calls for states to immediately lift restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden spoke at a roundtable event in Philadelphia as the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled the most in almost six weeks because of growing signs that a possible second wave of the pandemic could be taking hold in some states.

The Democratic nominee’s plan, which builds on a number of proposals his campaign has already released, calls for increasing COVID-19 testing, including for every person called to return to work, ensuring workers have access to personnel protective equipment, guaranteeing paid sick leave and building a national contact tracing task force.

As states have started to reopen their economies after months in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden warned of dire consequences of Trump’s approach.

“Trump has basically had a one-point plan: Open businesses,” Biden said during a roundtable event in Philadelphia. “Just open.”

He added: “Trump may have forgotten about coronavirus, but it hasn’t forgotten about us.”

More than 2 million people in the U.S. have been infected by the virus so far and more than 113,000 people have died. But, as states have started to reopen, new hot spots in states like Arizona and Texas have surfaced.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign, Andrew Clark, said that the Trump administration “issued science-based guidelines and worked with governors of both parties to safely reopen their economies,” while “Biden hid in his basement and opposed reopening at every turn, spreading disinformation about testing capacity and refusing to support any end to the lockdowns.”

Trump has been urging states to “liberate” themselves by allowing businesses to reopen and easing social-distancing requirements. Earlier Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. shouldn’t shut down the economy again even if there is another surge in coronavirus cases.

“We’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re gonna create more damage -- medical problems that get put on hold,” Mnuchin said on CNBC. “We can’t shut down the economy again.”

Biden said the federal government should spend a significant amount of money to assist businesses and workers to be able to reopen with precautions. Beyond covering the costs of COVID-19 tests, Biden said the government should provide funding to cover child care costs, medical research and increased salaries for health care workers. The former vice president warned that without the investment, the economy will not recover.

First « 1 2 » Next