The team to get this pandemic under control
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware
Congratulations Mr. President-elect on nominating and appointing this outstanding team to get this pandemic under control.
And thank you to these accomplished physicians, experts, and public servants for answering the call to serve the American people in this hour of need.
Over Thanksgiving, the president-elect and I called health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic. Just to thank them.
We wanted to express our gratitude — and our nation’s gratitude — for everything they have been doing. For every sacrifice they have made.
That day, I spoke with a registered nurse named Maureen in Pennsylvania and Talisa in Illinois.
They shared stories we’ve all heard.
We’ve all heard the stories about grandmothers and grandfathers, loved ones and friends spending their last moments alone.
We’ve all heard about nurses and physicians who are physically and mentally exhausted trying to keep up with ever-increasing caseloads. Those on the frontline who say to each other, it’s a matter of when, not if, they get the virus.
We’ve all heard about health care workers without the supplies and equipment they need to care for patients and save lives.
So, today, we have a message for Talisa, Maureen, and all Americans: help is on the way.
And it’s long overdue.
The scale of this pandemic is heartbreaking.
Almost 15 million cases. More than 2,800 deaths. In a single day.
And then, there’s the economic devastation. The lost jobs. The small businesses shuttered.
Not to mention what’s happening to our schools. The parents and teachers who are being stretched to their limits. And the toll it’s all taking on the mental health and well-being of our children who risk falling behind.
Opening our schools and economy safely and responsibly, getting this virus under control — all of it starts with listening to experts and leaders like these; Americans who reflect the very best of our nation.
They are top physicians, public health experts, and public servants.
And they are the team the American people need and deserve.
To make sure testing and treatment are free for everyone.
To make sure vaccines are safe, free, and equitably distributed.
To make sure we are better prepared for future pandemics and other health threats.
And to make sure quality, affordable health care is available to all.
From an early age, I saw the lifesaving work that our health care professionals provide, especially for the most vulnerable among us.
You see, my mother was a breast cancer researcher, and my sister and I spent many hours roaming the halls of the hospital where she worked.
It’s why I co-founded an auxiliary group to help patients at the county hospital in Oakland more than twenty years ago.
It’s why we need to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act.
And it’s why we have to listen to frontline health care workers like Maureen and Talisa.
During our conversation, Talisa said:
“We wouldn’t send our soldiers to battle without the gear they need. And we shouldn’t send our doctors and nurses to fight this pandemic without the gear they need.”
She is right.
And President-elect Biden and I — along with this world-class team — will make sure we are doing everything we can, to save lives and contain this pandemic once and for all.
Getting this virus under control is one of the defining challenges of our time.
And we will do what the American people have always done in the face of a great challenge.
We will stand together and defeat it.