Bernie Sanders spoke from Burlington on Thursday afternoon, delivering remarks about the coronavirus, and the impacts on healthcare and the economy.
“In the last few days, we have seen the crisis of coronavirus continue to grow exponentially, here in the United States and around the world. We have witnessed a global economic meltdown that will impact millions of workers,” Sanders began.
“It is an absolute moral imperitive that our response as a government, as a society, as a business community, and as individual citizens, meets the enormity of this crisis.”
The Vermont Senator called for Americans to stand in solidarity, rather than adopting an “every man for himself” mentality. “We are in this together,” Sanders said.
“Unfortunately in this time of international crisis, it is clear to me, that we have an administration that is largely incompetent, and whose incompetence and recklessness have threatened the lives of many, many people in our country.”
Sanders gave a brief overview of what he believes must be done to respond to the crisis, calling on President Trump to declare a national emergency. He also called for the formation a bipartisan authority of experts to support and direct a comprehensive and compassionate response, based on science and fact.
“In the midst of this unprecedented moment we need to listen to the scientists, to the researchers, to the medical folks, not to politicians,” Sanders said.
Sanders highlighted the United States’s disadvantage at responding to the crisis, as the only major country on earth that does not guarantee healthcare to its citizens. “When you are uninsured or under insured, you hesitate about getting the medical care you need, because you cannot afford to get that medical care.”
The Vermont Senator called for emergency paid medical leave, as well as an immediate expansion of community health centers. Sanders also urged for an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shutoffs, so that no one loses their home during the crisis.
“We need to provide emergency unemployment assistance to anyone in this country who loses their job through no fault of their own,” Sanders said.
“In addition, those who depend on tips, gig workers, domestic workers and independent contractors, must also qualify for unemployment insurance, to make up for the income they lose during this crisis.”
Sanders said the elderly, people with disabilities and families with children have access to nutritious food, calling for the expansion of the Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs.