Biden Warned One Year Ago, Before COVID, U.S. 'Not Prepared for a Pandemic'

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden issued a prophetic warning exactly one year ago that the United States was "not prepared for a pandemic."

On October 25, 2019, Biden tweeted out a blunt piece of cautionary advice to the U.S. about getting prepared to deal with a pandemic.

"We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores," Biden tweeted. He was responding to a Global Health Security Index report that said America was leading in health crisis infrastructure but pointed out glaring faults which could be exploited by an international virus crisis.

The former vice president's prescient remark came at least two months before the World Health Organization says the novel coronavirus broke out of Wuhan, China before spreading globally and leading to the deaths of at least 1.15 million people worldwide.

Former President Barack Obama on Sunday retweeted Biden's October 2019 call for pandemic preparation in the U.S., saying the country must elect a president who has an actual plan for taking on the coronavirus or the next potential pandemic.

Biden's ominous warning was at least two months before international health officials say COVID-19 spread out of China, and three months before President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for "working very hard to contain the Coronavirus."

At the time of his October 2019 tweet, Biden was looking to take hold of the packed Democratic presidential primary, and his tweet was in direct response to a Washington Post article which described how 195 countries—including the U.S.—were not "fully prepared for a pandemic."

The U.S. still received top marks throughout the Global Health Security Index report, coming in first place in almost all categories. The U.S. got an 83.1 index score on prevention, which was ranked first, as well as a 79.7 in terms of response capability, which was ranked second. The report did show the U.S. was ranked 19th in terms of "risk."

"Eight months into the pandemic, as new cases are breaking records, we need an administration that's not going to wave the white flag. A year ago today, @JoeBiden was talking about the leadership we need to get prepared for a pandemic, and he's got a plan to get it under control," Obama tweeted Sunday, highlighting Biden's comment last year.

The Trump administration has dismissed the COVID-19 pandemic in recent weeks as something they've already defeated, prompting scientists, health officials and Democrats alike to criticize the president for playing politics.

"Trump wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic he ignored," Obama said at a Miami campaign rally for Biden Saturday. "As a general rule, this is not a person who likes to take responsibility for anything. But you know, the job doesn't work that way."

Despite Trump's repeated blame on the Chinese Communist Party for its role in allowing the coronavirus to spread worldwide, the president touted its efforts in January 2020— about a month after WHO officials say the virus first spread outside Wuhan.

"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!" Trump tweeted in late January.

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign and the White House for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

joe biden predicted coronavirus pandemic
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds up a mask as President Donald Trump takes notes during the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. MORRY GASH - POOL/Getty Images