“Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago,” said Democratic nominee Joe Biden during a news conference on November 16. “Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before.”
The HEROES Act, passed by the Democrat-controlled lower chamber, involves $2 trillion in aid — on top of the trillions that have already been spent.
Biden sat down on NBC Nightly News with anchor Lester Holt for his first extensive post-election interview. Holt questioned him about the recent closure of New York City’s public school system and what he would do “to get kids back in school.”
“How much will you be working the phones and working with governors and mayors?” Holt asked.
“Well, it takes a lot of money to get them back,” Biden said. “The estimates are $150 to $200 billion for the year it would take to get — safely open our schools.”
You need to change the ventilation systems in public schools, Biden said. You have to change how employees conduct themselves, “everyone from the sanitary workers right through to the bus drivers.” He added that classes need to happen in smaller modules.
Holt, in response, asked him: “You’ve got schools closed right now in places where restaurants are open.
Are our priorities correct?” “I think we should be able to do both,” said Biden, although he then proceeded to say why both couldn’t be done.
“I’m very concerned about the schools, and I — for example, I was on a call yesterday with Mayor de Blasio, the largest school district in the country,” Biden said, referring to New York’s Bill de Blasio. “He is in a position where it cost tens of millions of dollars to be able to open their schools safely.
“So, there’s a lot we can do, but it is the single best expenditure of our dollars we could engage in now is to provide for these kinds of protection, not only the protective gear but the PPP, meaning the ability to allow businesses and other operations to be able to open and have the wherewithal, the financial aid to open safely.”
According to ABC News, at the time of the closure, the city’s public school system’s positive test rate was 0.23 percent. The New York Times reported there were only 28 positives — 20 staff and eight students. There’s no evidence transmission happened at school, either.
The data shows there’s no real need to close down schools, so why are they doing so?