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Biden Says He Could Lock Down Country To Stop COVID, Doesn't Say Where He Gets That Authority

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told a reporter this week he would not hesitate to shut down the entire country upon advice from scientists to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Sitting alongside his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Biden told ABC News anchor David Muir on Friday he would be willing to authorize a nationwide lockdown.
Muir asked Biden whether, if he is inaugurated in January and faced with a dual crisis of influenza and the coronavirus, he would “be prepared to shut this country down again.” 
“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives, because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus,” Biden said in the interview, which is set to air in full Sunday night on ABC.

“That is the fundamental flaw of [the Trump] administration’s thinking to begin with,” he added. 
Muri asked: “So if the scientists say, ‘Shut it down?'”
“I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists,” the former vice president replied. 
It is not clear where Biden would get the authority to declare a nationwide lockdown, but it is generally understood that the president does not have the power to make decisions for private businesses in individual states, as the establishment media pointed out in April when President Donald Trump hinted he would order some states to reopen.
As NPR reported in a “fact check” of the president, the executive branch does not have the authority to tell states what to do when it comes to decisions regarding health and business closures.
Biden’s comments came days after he sparked controversy by calling for every governor in the nation to mandate that citizens wear masks when they are outdoors. 
His remarks about instituting a nationwide lockdown have received significant criticism as well:

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh pointed out that such a lockdown could cause an economic collapse, as well as its own health issues.
“The economy has taken off like a rocket ship, yet Biden is critical of job losses inflicted by the Covid lockdown,” Murtaugh tweeted.
“But now he says he’d shut the country down again for the virus. Under Biden, the economy would collapse and cause its own health problems.”
A number of reports have shown that the country’s initial shutdowns led to a decline in routine doctor visits and other preventive health measures.
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have taken note of a rise in suicidal ideation, mental health problems and substance abuse amid the pandemic.

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