Biden talks with health care workers about COVID-19 crisis

President-elect Joe Biden held a virtual roundtable Wednesday with frontline health care workers, as he prepares to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

A firefighter, nurse, a school nurse and home health care worker shared with the former vice president what their experiences have been like over the last months, as they struggle to find enough personal protective equipment and watch their colleagues suffer. 

Mary Turner, an ICU nurse in Minnesota, told Mr. Biden she hasn’t been able to receive a COVID-19 test once since the crisis began.

“You’re kidding me,” Mr. Biden responded, dumbfounded. He told the workers that a priority for his team would be to roll out “quick turnaround testing” for the nation.

The firefighter told Mr. Biden he knows plenty of colleagues who are sleeping in their cars, to avoid taking COVID-19 home to their families.

Joe Biden
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden enters The Queen theatre ahead of a virtual meeting with frontline health care workers in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 18, 2020. Tom Brenner / Reuters

The president-elect thanked the frontline workers and promised to work as hard for them as they do for their communities. 

Mr. Biden has vowed to prioritize controlling the virus, which has already claimed nearly 250,000 American lives. With no access to government health officials due to the Trump administration’s failure to allow the transition process to take place, the president-elect has been meeting only with outside experts on his own coronavirus advisory team. He called out the General Services Administration for not granting his team access to transition resources, citing examples of how it’s hampered COVID planning, including vaccine distribution.

President Trump has been largely silent about COVID-19, turning his attention instead to false claims that he won the election. The president has rarely been seen in public since Election Day more than two weeks ago.

Alexander Tin contributed to this report.

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