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Biden unveils coronavirus plan, criticizes Trump's 'shortcomings'

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Biden unveils coronavirus plan, criticizes Trump's 'shortcomings'
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remakes on the coronavirus in Wilmington, Del., on Thursday. Biden established an advisory panel to assist his campaign in dealing with the coronavirus. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 12 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden called for no-cost testing and economic measures to help those already living paycheck-to-paycheck as part of a plan to battle coronavirus he released Thursday.

He announced details from the roadmap to battle COVID-19 in Wilmington, Del.

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"Whether or not you're affected or know someone who is affected or have been in contact with an infected person, this is going to require a national response," Biden said.

He called for "radical changes in our personal behaviors," including more frequent and thorough hand washing, staying home when ill, avoiding handshakes and the cancelation of large gatherings across the nation. He said his presidential campaign established a public health advisory group to help him determine how to handle future campaign events.

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Biden canceled rallies and fundraising events in Cleveland and Chicago this week due to the virus.

Among the recommendations he made for battling coronavirus were:

-- No-cost testing for all Americans, including mobile and drive-up testing to minimize exposure to others.

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-- Emergency paid leave for those affected by the outbreak.

-- A daily public White House accounting of how many tests have been done and how many people have tested positive.

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-- Establishing multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in certain locations.

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-- Prepare for potential military deployment to assist in providing medical capacity and logistical support.

-- Increase telemedicine efforts to free up hospital beds and resources for the very sick.

-- Protect first responders, medical employees and other frontline workers at risk.

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-- Accelerate the development of treatment and vaccines.

-- Increase the United States' role in a global response to the pandemic.

Biden condemned President Donald Trump's reaction to the virus, specifically pointing to his temporary ban on all travel from Europe announced Wednesday night.

"Banning travel from Europe or any other part of the world will maybe slow it, but as we've seen, it will not stop it," Biden said, adding that the pandemic has "laid bare the shortcomings of this administration."

He said the plan he released Thursday is available for the Trump administration to implement today.

Biden said the United States shouldn't wait for the coronavirus outbreak to get worse before reacting.

"The human and economic toll will grow faster, larger and more dangerous," he said. "We must do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes.

"This crisis will hit everyone, but it will hit folks who live paycheck-to-paycheck the hardest."

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Earlier Thursday, Biden hired former Rep. Beto O'Rourke aide Jen O'Malley Dillon as his new campaign manager.

Biden is the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic primary race, with 864 delegates to Sen. Bernie Sanders' 710.

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