Biden says he will not pursue a national lockdown as part of his COVID-19 response: ‘I am not going to shut down the economy, period’

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President-elect Joe Biden.
  • President-elect Joe Biden said on Thursday he would not pursue a national lockdown to combat the coronavirus.
  • Previously, Biden answered hypothetical questions on the issue by saying he would follow the advice of medical experts.
  • "I am not going to shut down the economy, period," Biden said Thursday. "I'm going to shut down the virus ... no national shutdown."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden committed Thursday to keeping the US economy open, clarifying his stance on a national lockdown.

"I am not going to shut down the economy, period," Biden said at a press conference. "I'm going to shut down the virus."

He then emphasized: "no national shutdown."

Previously, Biden gave similar answers to hypothetical questions about a national shutdown, saying he would follow the advice of medical experts.

The notion of Biden shutting down the economy was a repeated talking point from President Donald Trump's campaign.

Biden said he would pursue public-health measures to keep the economy running smoothly by keeping the virus under control. He added that capacity restrictions in businesses, restaurants, and other venues would still be necessary.

At the beginning of his answer at the press conference, Biden expressed some frustration at the perception that he was in favor of a national lockdown.

"Everybody asks that question every single time I stand here," Biden said. "It was a hypothetical question. The answer was, I would follow the science."

After Biden repeated he would not pursue a national shutdown, he said "every region, every area, every community can be different."

"And so there's no circumstance which I can see that would require a total national shutdown," Biden said. "I think that would be counterproductive."

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