Biden says he would shut the U.S. down if recommended by scientists

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidate former Vice...
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., arrive to speak at a news conference at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del. As Democrats gather virtually this week to nominate Joe Biden for the presidency, party leaders and activists across the political spectrum agree on one unifying force: their desire to defeat President Donald Trump.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Updated: Aug. 22, 2020 at 2:54 PM EDT
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(CBS News) - Joe Biden said that, if elected, he would shut the U.S. down if that is recommended by scientists. He was asked by ABC News' David Muir if he would be prepared to shut the country down if he is sworn in as president in January and the coronavirus pandemic and flu combine.

"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 his first joint interview with Kamala Harris since officially becoming the Democratic nominees for president and vice president last week.

“That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with,” he said, referring to the Trump administration. “In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.” “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists,” he said.

An NPR/Ipsos poll conducted in late July found that nearly 59% of Americans would support a nationwide mandate to shelter at home for two weeks.Joe Biden and

Joe Biden and Jill Biden wear facemasks as they watch fireworks outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, on August 20, 2020.OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Biden has repeatedly criticized the Trump administration's response to the virus, and said that he would take the crisis more seriously as president. In his speech accepting the Democratic nomination, Biden said he would listen to the recommendation of scientists and implement a nationwide mandate to wear a mask.

“We’ll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve. The honest, unvarnished truth. They can deal with that,” Biden said. “We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask, not as a burden, but to protect each other. It’s a patriotic duty.”