Joe Biden walks back threat to shut down US economy

Democratic presidential nominee and former US Vice President Joe Biden addresses a crowd at a town hall event. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is clarifying his threat to shut down the U.S. economy as president if COVID-19 rages on.

In an interview with ABC News last month, Biden said he would let health experts call the shots on a shut down if they recommended it to him as president.

However, during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, Biden walked back those comments saying he doesn’t think a shut down will be necessary. “There is going to be no need in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy.”

Biden referred back to the ABC interview, suggesting the question was broad. “I got asked by David Muir a question if I was asked to shut everything down, I took that has a generic question, am I going to follow the science?"

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He also doubled down on his view that the best way to reboot the economy is to get a handle on COVID-19. “The idea that you're going to be able to get the economy back on track without getting COVID under control is completely counterintuitive...unless we're able to deal with the disease and drastically cut its impact on people's confidence, being able to either go to work or walk into a business or do business, then it doesn't matter.”

The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the U.S. economy, shuttering thousands of small businesses and devastatnig major industries such as airlines and hotels.

Since in mid-March, about 57 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.

President Trump has vowed to return the economy to pre-COVID-19 levels.

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