Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that as president he would be prepared to shut the United States down again to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus if that is what the scientists recommended.

“I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told “ABC World News Tonight” anchor David Muir in a clip released Friday ahead of a full joint interview alongside vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris to be aired Sunday.

Biden said he was “prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus.”

“That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with,” the Democratic presidential candidate continued. “In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.”

Check out Biden’s comments here:

“I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”Joe Biden tells @DavidMuir in an exclusive interview that as president, he would shut the country down to stop the spread of COVID-19 if the move was recommended by scientists.

— ABC News (@ABC) August 21, 2020

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, continues to face widespread criticism for his administration’s disastrous handling of the public health crisis.

Trump downplayed the risk of COVID-19 for months as cases surged worldwide. He later pushed for the premature easing of lockdown restrictions in a bid to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 election.

The president has also hyped unproven treatments for the disease and sent mixed messages on the need to wear masks to prevent its spread.

The virus has now killed more than 170,000 people nationwide.

In other preview clips of the interview, both Biden and Harris criticized and dismissed Trump’s recent attacks on Harris. The president has called Harris “nasty” and a “madwoman” and also leaned into a racist birther conspiracy theory about her.

“I think that there is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth that is designed to distract the American people from what he is doing every day,” Harris said of Trump’s insults. “That is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people.”

EXCLUSIVE: Asked about Pres. Trump’s insults against her, Sen. Kamala Harris tells @DavidMuir, “There is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth that is designed to distract the American people from what he is doing.”

— ABC News (@ABC) August 22, 2020

“No president has ever used those words,” added Biden.

EXCLUSIVE: Joe Biden to @DavidMuir on Pres. Trump’s attacks on Sen. Kamala Harris: “No President has ever used those words.”

— ABC News (@ABC) August 22, 2020 RELATED… Anderson Cooper Overcome With Emotion After Coronavirus Patient's Sweet Message Rachel Maddow Thinks This Will Haunt Trump Throughout The RNC Washington Post Editorial Board Firmly Debunks Trump’s 2 ‘Huge’ Election Lies HuffPost testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks. HuffPost Important conversations are happening now. Add your voice! Join HuffPost Today! Download Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter Join HuffPost

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