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Biden Warns On COVID-19 Pandemic, 'Darkest Days Are Ahead Of Us'

President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks Tuesday in Delaware.
Joshua Roberts
Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks Tuesday in Delaware.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is addressing Americans on Tuesday, ahead of the end-of-year holidays, urging caution and optimism to pull through the coronavirus pandemic.

But he promised to tell the "truth" and warned of the pandemic with winter here, "Our darkest days are ahead of us, not behind us."

He thanked health care and front-line workers, and said his family usually has 25 people or so over for Christmas, "but not this year," Biden said.

He added, "Like we did over Thanksgiving," we all have to care for each other by staying apart, Biden said. "I know it's hard."

He praised Congress for "doing its job this week" by passing a COVID relief bill, but Biden reiterated he would be pushing for more when he takes office.

Biden also sharply went after President Trump on the widespread cyberattack through the U.S. government. Cybersecurity experts have said that the infiltration has all the hallmarks of Russian intelligence, but Trump downplayed the severity of the hack and even said it could be China.

"Enough's enough," Biden said, calling Trump's efforts a failure and noted that he hadn't treated cybersecurity seriously.

"This assault happened on Donald Trump's watch when he wasn't watching," Biden charged, noting that Trump "still has the responsibility to defend America for the next four weeks, but, even if he does not take it seriously, I will."

Biden added about the attack: "It is a grave risk, and it continues. I see no evidence that it's under control."

He also said his team had not been briefed on the attack by the Pentagon.

Biden's remarks come a day after he and his wife, Jill, received a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Speaking then, Biden implored Americans to refrain from unnecessary travel during the holiday season.

U.S. cases of the coronavirus are once again on the rise, and the national death toll from the virus nears 320,000 lives lost. Biden hopes in the first 100 days to oversee the distribution of 100 million shots of the vaccine.

The House and Senate passed a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 aid package Monday evening after months of negotiations. Biden has said he would ask Congress for more relief money once he's in office.

Biden still has Cabinet positions, like attorney general, to fill out. The president-elect promised that another announcement would come Wednesday, though he didn't specify for which job.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.