Biden inauguration expected to be downsized from prior years amid pandemic

'I think it's going to definitely have to be changed,' incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain says of the January inauguration

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will be a “scaled-down” version of existing traditions in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a top aide said on Sunday.

Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the Jan. 20 event may borrow from techniques that were used to put on the virtual Democratic National Convention over the summer.

“I think it’s going to definitely have to be changed,” Klain said. “Obviously, this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we had in the past.”

Presidential inaugurations have traditionally featured a swearing-in and speech by the new president at the U.S. Capitol before a crowd of thousands on the National Mall, followed by lunch with lawmakers and a parade to the White House.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as wife Dr. Jill Biden and son Beau Biden look on during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Biden’s team is consulting with leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate on details and best practices, Klain said.

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The former vice president was attacked repeatedly by President Donald Trump for wearing masks and taking other COVID-19 precautions during his campaign for the White House. Amid a surge in infections across the country, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will continue stressing safe practices when they take office early in the new year.

Construction is underway in front of the U.S. Capitol for the 2009 presidential inauguration site on Nov. 5, 2008 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. reported nearly 200,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and more than 177,000 new cases on Saturday. Well over 1,000 people are dying a day from Covid-19.

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Taking safety measures and adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines during the inauguration is an example of Biden’s very different approach to containing the virus from that taken by Trump, reports CNBC.

“We know people want to celebrate. There is something here to celebrate,” said Klain, who served as Biden’s chief of staff under the Obama administration. “We just want to try to find a way to do it as safely as possible.”

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