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Fact check: Biden did not say that if elected he will lock down the country until everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19

Social media users are sharing a false quote attributed to the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, saying that if he wins the upcoming U.S. presidential election, he will lock down the United States until everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19. Biden has said that if scientists advised him to shut down the country to curb the coronavirus pandemic he would, but he does not think there will be a need for such a nationwide lockdown. He supports opening businesses and schools provided sufficient safety measures are in place.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts ( here , here , here ) show a picture of Biden wearing a mask alongside the following quote, attributed to him: “COVID-19 will increase within the next few months. The scientists agree. And when I take the White House, I will lock down our nation until we have our vaccine ready and everyone is vaccinated.”

Reuters found no evidence of Biden saying this exact quote in news reports or on his website.

President Trump has claimed at multiple campaign rallies and in the first presidential debate (as seen in this video clip youtu.be/wW1lY5jFNcQ?t=3403) that Biden would shut down the country to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, impeding the country’s recovery (here).

In an interview with ABC news in August, when asked if he would be prepared to shut down the country due to the coronavirus crisis, Biden said, “I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives. Because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus.” When pressed on whether he would shut down the country if scientists advised him to, Biden said, “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.” (here).

Biden later clarified his comments during a live event in Delaware on Sept. 2, saying that he would follow the science and that increasing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 would boost the confidence of consumers and business owners, and therefore support the economy.

“There’s going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy,” he said. “I got asked by David Muir a question, if I was asked to shut everything down. I took that as a generic question if -- am I going to follow the science?” (The exchange is visible in the video clip tinyurl.com/yydz7rpd ).

In his town hall on Oct. 15, Biden reiterated this view: “I don’t think there’s a need to lock down […] I laid out a plan how you can open businesses. You can open businesses and schools if in fact you provide them the guidance they need as well as the money to be able to do it.” (here)

On his campaign website, Biden lays out his COVID-19 plan, which does not mention a national lock down (joebiden.com/beat-covid19/). He details his eight-part plan for ensuring safe re-opening, saying “Americans deserve a President who will ensure that re-opening is as effective and safe as possible – putting people back on the payroll as quickly as possible and restoring economic demand as fully as possible.” (joebiden.com/reopening/)

Regarding vaccinations, Biden plans to invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee that the vaccine gets to every American cost-free (joebiden.com/covid19/). On the website and in Biden’s recent interviews, he does not mention shutting down the country until this is achieved.

VERDICT

False. There is no evidence of Biden saying this quote. Biden has previously said that he would shut down the country if scientists advised, but he does not think this will happen and he has plans to open the country with safety measures in place. Biden has not said that opening is contingent upon vaccine availability.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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