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Posts spread quote falsely attributed to Biden about COVID-19 and vaccines

October 14, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said “COVID-19 will increase within the next few months. The scientists agree. And when I take the White House I will lock down our nation until we have our vaccine ready and everyone is vaccinated.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. There is no evidence Biden made this comment.

THE FACTS: Social media users are sharing a fabricated quote to claim that the former vice president will institute a lockdown to force vaccinations once elected president.

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An online search of public comments and tweets showed that Biden made no such remark. Biden has said that if elected he would rely on the expertise of medical professionals to make decisions about COVID-19.

In an August interview with ABC News anchor David Muir asked Biden if he would be prepared to shut down the country again. Biden said he would shut down the country if that is what the scientists said.

“I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives,” Biden said..

While on the campaign trail in September, Biden stopped in Wilmington, Delaware, where he spoke about the coronavirus vaccine. Biden again reaffirmed that he would rely on health experts to make decisions about the virus. He did not make any reference to enforcing vaccines through lockdowns.

During the event, Biden said once he took office he would begin by implementing an effective distribution plan for the vaccine based on direction from the experts. He said his plan would include a timetable for when people would receive the vaccine and who would receive the vaccine first as well as mechanisms to store the vaccines at their proper temperatures.

“If a vaccine is ready to go, it should be totally transparent, the basis upon which that decision was made,” he said. “What scientists looked at it within the government and outside the government, and said, “This is a useful, safe vaccine to take.”’

Biden did, however, say that if elected he would make the case for why a national mask mandate might be necessary.

“I’d have the scientist arrayed to lay out in detail why,” he said. “And I would go to every governor, and I’d go to governors relating, Republican and Democratic governors, and I’d say, we have to have this national mandate. We must do it.”

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The post being shared online comes after President Donald Trump has continued to suggest that Biden would shut down the entire country if elected.

The post with the fabricated quote includes a photo from The Associated Press showing Biden wearing a mask after finishing up his speech at the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 951 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Oct. 2.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536