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Biden seeks to rally nation to fight COVID-19: 'This election is over'

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE on Monday declared the election “over” and called on Americans of all political persuasions to join together to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE has not conceded defeat yet, and there are questions about whether he ever will. The president has baselessly alleged that the election was stolen from him, and his campaign plans to challenge the results in several swing states in court.

The recounts and court challenges will not be enough to overcome Biden's lead of thousands and tens of thousands of votes in the states that matter.

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Biden on Monday sought to move forward with his presidential transition and his promise to reach out to Republicans in a deeply divided country.

“I will be a president for everyone,” Biden said. “This election is over. It's time to put aside the partisanship and the rhetoric that is designed to demonize one another.”

Biden has begun forming a transition team to prepare for when he is sworn into office on Jan. 20 as the 46th president, with much of the early focus on putting together a task force to implement his COVID-19 plan of attack.

On Monday, Biden sought to appeal to people across the political spectrum by making the case it is part of the shared civic duty for all Americans to wear a mask. 

“We have to come together to heal the soul of this country so we can effectively address this crisis as one country, where hardworking Americans have each other's backs and are united in our shared goal of defeating this virus,” Biden said.

“The single most effective thing we can do to stop the spread of this virus is to wear a mask,” he added. 

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That message represents a different tact than the one taken by Trump, who has talked down the importance of masks and even removed his mask when he was photographed upon returning to the White House from the hospital after he was treated for the coronavirus. 

“I won’t be president until Jan. 20, but my message today to everyone is this: It doesn’t matter who you voted for or where you stood before Election Day. It doesn’t matter your party or point of view. We could save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next couple months,” Biden said. “Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives.”

Biden also sought to pump the brakes on optimism around Pfizer’s announcement on Monday that its late-stage clinical trial data showed their vaccine was effective in preventing COVID-19 over 90 percent of the time. 

The former vice president said the process going forward on approving any vaccine “must be grounded in science and fully transparent so the American people can have every confidence that any approved vaccine is safe and effective.” 

“At the same time, it’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come,” Biden said. “The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing.”