File photo.

Sara L. Cannon

The United States may have 4 percent of the world’s population, but we have at least 25 percent of the world’s COVID-19 cases and a commensurate number of deaths. But percentages only tell part of the story.

We are the wealthiest country in the world; we have been acknowledged leaders in science, technology and medicine. Yet we have no unified, aggressive, science-based response to combat the pandemic.

Instead President Trump opposed his own scientists and medical specialists who attempted to give Americans real, scientific guidelines to combat the pandemic. Even knowing how deadly the COVID-19 virus is Trump withheld information that would have saved thousands of lives. He scoffed at proven ways to avoid transmitting the disease and offered instead bogus advice on unproven drug therapies. He even suggested the virus was a Democratic hoax. Instead of providing a coordinated national response to the scarcity of PPE supplies for hospitals struggling to care for the growing number of COVID cases, he threw responsibility for procuring these scarce supplies to the states forcing them to scramble and compete for them. While proclaiming that he bears no responsibility whatsoever for the health devastation in the United States, he has advanced his own medical theory that the virus would just disappear.

Meanwhile, the number of cases and deaths continue to grow. According to the COVID-19 Statewide Update as of September 11th, California alone has registered more than 746,000 confirmed cases and over 14,000 deaths. The toll for the United States is now 6,400,000 cases and nearly 200,000 deaths. Adding to this, the pandemic has led this country into a recession, devastating local and national economies and wiping out 5 years of financial growth. More than 30 million citizens have become unemployed with no end in sight.

There is a fully-developed remedy to the deadly dysfunction we are all living with, Joe Biden’s plan to beat COVID-19. Biden has a comprehensive, fully-developed plan to combat the virus and get our nation back on its feet. As president-elect, Biden would, within minutes after he is declared the winner, make one of his first calls to Dr. Anthony Fauci asking him to return to fully serve the nation under his administration. Fauci will have full access to the Oval Office and an unhindered voice to speak directly to the American people about COVID-19. During his transition, Biden would seek out governors, mayors and leaders of both parties, from every state, territory and tribe in his efforts to bring people together to add their concerns and ideas to this fight.

As president he would implement a comprehensive plan to limit the spread and save the lives of citizens who regularly come into contact with this disease. He would fully deploy the Defense Production Act, which allows a president to direct private manufacturers and businesses to make needed supplies and materials under emergency authorization. This would set up a critical lifeline and sustainable national supply chain for PPE, hospital supplies and other critical needs for health care workers and first responders to get priority access to these vital supplies. These workers, while working to save our lives, have been increasingly contracting and dying of the virus. So far there have been 900 deaths of doctors, nurses and others in the field.

To combat the pandemic on the ground, Biden would call for a three-month nationwide mask mandate, which could save an estimated 40,000 lives. A national campaign will commence that will guarantee regular, reliable and free testing sites to accommodate everyone who wants a test. Biden also will initiate a national contact tracing workforce that would find people who may have been exposed to the virus and have them tested as well.

The Biden administration would call for critical research agencies to establish an Emerging Infectious Disease Clinical Trial Network. This would accelerate the development of treatments and vaccines with a coordinated global approach in partnership with the World Health Organization. The Network would develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a safe and effective vaccine. The plan would also secure international strategies to eliminate cyber threats. Biden would empower the State Department to ensure the U.S. plays a major role in these global decisions with all the resources the United States commands.

Knowing that a strong economy is based on the health of our population, Biden recognizes that to open stronger and more effective businesses in the safest ways possible requires a unified directive of clear, science-based and national public health guidance from his administration.

This includes standards of compliance and rules for employers and employees to keep workers and customers safe. Along with this, his plan would give small businesses a “restart” package that would offer financial support to re-open businesses and rehire employees.

Biden knows that the health of Americans and our economy depend on fulfilling these efforts. His plan will keep us safe and help us regain our place as partner and leader in an interconnected world.

Sarah Cannon is a Santa Monica resident.