President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. addressed the slowing American economic recovery on Monday, amid the crosswinds of rising coronavirus deaths and soaring optimism over a vaccine.
His speech comes at a perilous moment for the recovery from the pandemic recession.
Credit card data and other indicators suggest consumers began to pull back spending this month as infection, hospitalization and death rates from the virus surge nationwide. States have begun to impose new restrictions on economic activity in an effort to tamp down the spread.
But stock markets were soaring again on Monday, encouraged by news that Moderna’s vaccine for the virus appears to be highly effective. Still, widespread distribution of a vaccine that would allow Americans to resume anything close to normal levels of travel, dining out and other services that have been crushed by the pandemic is likely months away. Economists continue to call for a new and immediate round of aid from Congress to help people and businesses weather the difficult time before the rebound is complete.
Mr. Biden’s first economic test will be navigating the politics of that aid package: whether to push his party to cut a deal with Republicans for a limited rescue bill this fall, before he takes office, or to hold out for a larger package after he is president.