KEY POINTS

  • Joe Biden pleaded with fellow Americans to avoid becoming numb to the death toll COVID-19 has taken
  • The virus has now claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans
  • He blames Trump for this catastrophe, saying the president "panicked"

Joe Biden conveyed his immense grief over the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 reaching 200,000, pleading with fellow Americans to avoid “becoming numb to the toll that it's taken."

Wearing a mask the entire time he spoke in Wisconsin on Monday, Biden lamented that “due to Donald Trump's lies and incompetence, the past six months have seen one of the greatest losses of American life in history.”

Biden also told his audience Trump "panicked ... because the virus was too big for him" as the U.S. remains the world leader in both confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

There are now more than 7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 200,000 deaths based on Worldometer data. Johns Hopkins University has the case count at 6.8 million and 199,815 deaths as of Monday evening.

Biden called the new high in deaths “a tragic milestone” that means "there are empty chairs at dining room tables and kitchen tables that weeks and months ago were filled with a loved one, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister.”

Biden said he worries the ever mounting fatality count means “we’re risking becoming numb to the toll that is taken on us and our country and communities like this."

"We can’t let that happen," he said. "We can’t lose the ability to feel the sorrow and the loss and the anger for so many lives lost. We can’t let the numbers becomes statistics and background noise, just a blur that we see on the nightly news.”

Citing a Columbia University study, Biden once again said if social distancing mandates were implemented a week earlier in the late winter, 36,000 lives across the U.S. would have been saved.

He also told Wisconsinites Trump has no respect for his own voters, saying,  “the next time he holds (a rally), look closely. Trump keeps his distance from anyone in the rally. The folks who come are packed in tight as they can be, risking disease, mostly without masks. But not Trump. He safely keeps his distance ... He’s willing to let everybody else in the crowd risk their lives, but not him.”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden slammed president Trump's remarks on the virus as "disgusting ... almost criminal Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden slammed president Trump's remarks on the virus as "disgusting ... almost criminal" Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON

Biden wore a face mask during his entire speech in keeping with an indoor mask mandate implemented by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D). Wisconsin is grappling with a resurgence of the disease. It reported 1,300 new cases Monday, as well as 16.4% seven-day average positivity rate, one of the highest in the country. Wisconsin hit 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday.

Monday's visit was Biden's second to Wisconsin this month. The state had been reliably Democrat for a quarter of a century before Trump flipped it to beat Hillary Clinton by less than 1 percent in 2016. Biden is working to make Wisconsin blue once again, along with Michigan and Pennsylvania.

"I want to spend just a few moments talking about those who voted for Donald Trump last time," he said. "When I was out here in our administration, you voted for us and then an awful lot of people in this county changed and they voted for Trump last time.”

“I know many of you are frustrated. You’re angry. You believe you weren’t being seen, represented, or heard. I get it. It has to change and I promise you this -- it will change with me. You will be seen, heard and respected by me.”