In face of ‘grim’ jobs report, Biden backs more COVID-19 aid

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President-elect Joe Biden speaks about jobs at The Queen theater, Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a “bleak future” if Congress doesn't take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a nationwide spike in the virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery.

He also expressed concern that so far he’s seen “no detailed plan” from the Trump administration on how to distribute an approved coronavirus vaccine, but said he and his team are working on their own proposal to fill in the gaps.

Biden delivered remarks Friday afternoon reacting to November's national jobs report, which showed a sharp decrease in U.S. hiring even as the country is about 10 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. The Democrat called the report “dire” and said it “shows the economy is stalling," but he said quick action from Congress can halt some of the damage.

“If we act now — I mean now — we can begin to regain momentum and start to build back a better future,” he said. “There’s no time to lose.”

Surging cases of the virus have led states and municipalities to roll back their reopening plans. And more restrictions may be on the way as lower temperatures and holiday travel lead to records for confirmed cases and deaths. Biden has said that while he doesn't support a nationwide lockdown, he plans to ask Americans to commit to 100 days of mask-wearing to help combat the virus as one of his first acts as president.

But one of his major challenges in turning the tide of the coronavirus pandemic will be distributing a vaccine. While the Trump administration has undertaken some planning around vaccine distribution, Biden said Friday that their proposal lacks significant details.

“There is no detailed plan — that we’ve seen, anyway — as to how you get a vaccine out of a container, into an injection syringe, into someone’s arm,” he said.

The president-elect said that while his team agrees with some of the priorities the Trump administration has laid out in its vaccine distribution plan, more work needs to be done.