U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would listen to government scientists on the coronavirus — even if it means shutting the country down.

“I would be 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 former vice president told ABC News on Friday. “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.”

President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged state and local governments to ease coronavirus-related restrictions on schools and businesses in order to boost the economy.

In an interview to be broadcast Sunday, Biden also denied Trump’s charge that he would defund police departments, as some Black Lives Matter activists have proposed in the wake of police killings of Black citizens.

“First of all, there has to be national standards that in fact apply to every police department in the country,” Biden said. “I don’t want to defund police departments. I think they need more help. They need more assistance. We have to make it clear that this is about protecting neighborhoods. Protecting people, everybody, across the board.”

Biden spoke to ABC News in his first joint broadcast interview with his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, the day after accepting the Democratic party’s nomination for president.

Harris brushed off insults from the incumbent president, who has called her “nasty,” a “madwoman” and the “meanest” U.S. senator for her treatment of Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.

“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, that is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people,” Harris said.

“And incompetence,” Biden added. “The idea that he would say something like that. No president has ever said anything like that. No president has ever used those words.”

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