Senator Kamala Harris, presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, speaks as former Vice President Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, right, listens during a campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday blamed President Donald Trump for the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, saying he was “delusional” and “failed to take the virus “seriously from the start.”

“This virus has impacted almost every country but there’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start,” Harris said during a press conference alongside former Vice President Joe Biden. 

“His refusal to get testing up and running, his flip-flopping on social distancing and wearing masks. His delusional belief that he knows better than the experts. All of that is the reason and the reason an American dies of Covid-19 every 80 seconds,” she said. 

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment on Harris’ remarks. 

The U.S. has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world with more than 5 million cases and at least 165,328 deaths as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump has repeatedly blamed China for causing the pandemic and exacerbating it in the U.S., saying China early on hid the extent of its outbreak. However, public health experts blame the surge of cases in the U.S. on failures in the Trump administration, saying it failed to act quickly to contain the virus, still lacks a coordinated response between the federal government and states and made early missteps on testing.

“When other countries are following the science, Trump pushed miracle cures he saw on Fox News,” Harris said. “While other countries were flattening the curve, he said the virus would just poof go away, quote ‘like a miracle.’ So when other countries opened back up for business, what did we do? We had to shut down again.”

During the same conference, Biden vowed, if elected, that his administration “will have a comprehensive plan to meet the challenge of Covid-19 and turn the corner on this pandemic. “

“Masking, clear science-based guidance, dramatically scaling up testing, getting states and local governments the resources they need to open the schools and businesses safely,” he said. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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