One pandemic, two presidents: A split-screen second underscores the clashing approaches of Trump and Biden.

The current president hailed a “monumental national achievement”. His successor grimly described a “mass casualty” event.

Statements by President Trump and President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday’s coronavirus pandemic provided a remarkable moment on two screens, underscoring how differently the two men are approaching the worst public health crisis in 100 years For a year it has been particularly devastating for people of color.

Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware as he introduced the people who will run his health department, Mr Biden painted a bleak picture of the infections ravaging the nation despite vowing to “have at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots in the arms.” getting the American people ”during their first 100 days in office.

He promised to implement “the most efficient mass vaccination plan in US history” but did not say how or through which companies his government would buy vaccine shots. Mr Biden also pleaded with Americans to wear masks during his first 100 days in office, saying he would make it compulsory in federal buildings as well as on planes, trains and buses crossing state lines.

“My first 100 days will not end the Covid-19 virus – I cannot promise that,” Biden said at a virtual event in an almost empty room. But he added: “I am absolutely convinced that we can change course.”

The high-profile officials Mr. Biden will appoint – including Xavier Becerra, a former Congressman who is now California’s attorney general, as his candidate for the Department of Health and Human Services – will face the immediate challenge of slowing the spread of the coronavirus has already killed more than 285,000 people in the United States, taking a particularly devastating toll on people of color.

Other health officials involved in the event included Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, who will lead a Covid-19 equity task force, and Jeffrey D. Zients, the in-depth coordinator of the Covid-19 response.

It was a much more optimistic message in an auditorium near the White House where Mr Trump was packing industry officials and members of his administration – most of them wearing masks – for a “vaccination summit” to obtain the expected EU approval of a vaccine Celebrate the Food and Drug Administration this week.

The dueling scenes came as the UK began vaccinating humans after that country approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine – the same one that is about to be approved in the US. In the UK, scenes of people receiving the first doses of the vaccine dominated television coverage and provided some good news in the fight against the virus.

When asked why he did not include members of Mr Biden’s transition team on the summit to ensure a smooth delivery of the vaccine by the next administration, Mr Trump again complained with no evidence that people tried to ” steal, “and said he hoped the next administration would be” the Trump administration. “

Mr. Trump, who had recorded a recording of “Hail to the Chief” and was standing in front of a backdrop of American flags, requested the vaccine and thanked his staff and advisors in the White House – although he was Dr. Anthony S. expressly excluded. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, chosen by Mr. Biden to be his chief medical advisor, who performed remotely at the President-elect’s event.

Mr Trump barely mentioned the surge in cases and deaths across the country in the past few weeks, merely reiterating his long-standing – and false – claim that the United States only has more cases because it does more testing. The country has broken record after record as it nears 300,000 deaths and topped 15 million known cases in a brutal and accelerating surge. As of Monday, the nation recorded the highest number of virus-related deaths over a one-week period – about 2,200 daily – and averaging more than 201,000 cases per day.

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