U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to reporters about efforts to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after meeting with members of his "Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board" in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov.  9, 2020.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to reporters about efforts to confront the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after meeting with members of his "Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board" in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 9, 2020.

WASHINGTON - Democrat Joe Biden, the projected winner of the?long and contentious? U.S. presidential?election over?Republican?President Donald Trump, has moved quickly to start?preparations?to take over the U.S. government when he is?inaugurated?January 20?and reverse?some?key Trump policies.??

The move comes as Trump is contesting the outcome of the November 3 election through lawsuits, claiming, without evidence,?that?vote-counting irregularities?in several?states where Biden won?narrow?pluralities?and all their electoral votes,?would reverse the result and hand him a second term.?

President-elect Biden and?his running mate,?Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,?launched a website?for?their?transition to power on Sunday, saying they would immediately focus on?the coronavirus pandemic, the?recession?in?the world’s biggest economy?wrought?by the pandemic, climate change and systemic racism.??

“We are preparing to lead on Day One, ensuring the Biden-Harris administration?is able to?take on the most urgent challenges we?face:?protecting and preserving our nation's health, renewing our opportunity to succeed, advancing racial equity, and fighting the climate crisis.”?

They declared, “We stand together as one America. We will rise stronger than we were before.”??

In this image from video, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy speaks during the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 20, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

Coronavirus advisory panel

Biden announced Monday the formation of a 13-member coronavirus advisory panel co-chaired by former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David Kessler and Yale University associate professor and associate dean Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.?

"Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts," Biden said in a statement.?

Biden, during the campaign,?regularly?assailed?Trump for his handling of the pandemic as the death toll of Americans rose to a world-leading?total of 237,000, according to?the?Johns Hopkins University. ?Trump in recent weeks has said the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on COVID-19.?

People line up at a COVID-19 rapid test site, Nov. 7, 2020 in Miami Beach, Fla.

During the past week, the United States averaged more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.?

The Biden-Harris transition website lays out a seven-point?plan against the coronavirus, including?"regular, reliable, and free testing" ?for?all Americans, an "effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines" once?they become?available and?an attempt to?implement a nationwide mask mandate?that many oppose as an intrusion on their individual freedom.??

Climate change, Muslim ban

Aides say that on his first days in office, Biden plans?for the United States?to rejoin the Paris climate accord that Trump withdrew from and?reverse Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization.??

Biden plans to?repeal the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries, and?to?reinstate the program?that allows young people, often called “Dreamers,”?who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children,?to?remain in the country.??

During the campaign, Biden also said he plans to rejoin the international accord to restrain Iran’s nuclear weapons development that Trump rebuked and?pulled the U.S.?from.??

U.S. transitions in power can often bring?swift policy shifts but the one from Trump to Biden could be among the most?jarring in recent U.S. political history.??

One Biden aide told CNN, “Across the board we will continue laying the foundation for the incoming Biden-Harris administration to successfully restore faith and trust in our institutions and lead the federal government."??

Trump won't concede

Trump has declined to concede or call Biden.???

President Donald Trump returns to the White House after news media declared Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Washington, Nov. 7, 2020.

The Trump campaign is pursuing multiple?court cases?starting Monday, although there were scant reports?of irregularities?during last Tuesday’s voting?or in?the days of vote counting since then, tabulations that are?still going on in numerous states even though the outcome in?almost?all?the country’s 50 states is not in doubt.??

A?majority of 270 votes in the country’s 538-member Electoral College, with the most populous states holding the most sway,?determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote. Biden currently holds a 4-million vote edge?in?the national vote count.??

Biden passed the 270-vote Electoral College?majority threshold on Saturday when it became?apparent he had amassed a narrow, but decisive?popular?vote lead in the?eastern state of Pennsylvania and won its 20 electoral votes.???

At that point, all major television news organizations, including Trump favorite?Fox News, and leading newspapers,?declared Biden the winner.??

Trump has railed against the outcome, while praising himself Saturday on Twitter, saying,?“71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!”??

Biden currently has?75.2 million votes.?

A Joe Biden supporter holds up a message for President Donald Trump during a rally near the White House, Nov. 7, 2020. (Margaret Besheer/VOA)

Thousands celebrate Biden-Harris victory

Thousands of people massed in?the?streets?in large Democratic-dominated cities across the country?on Saturday to celebrate Trump’s defeat, including?in Washington,?outside the White House.Some shouted,?“You’re?fired,”? Trump’s signature line from his one-time television reality show,?“The Apprentice,”?before he won the presidency in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.??

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is leading the bipartisan effort planning the January 20 inauguration,?said it?“seems unlikely” that vote projections showing Biden as the presidential winner would change in the coming days.??

But he told ABC’s “This Week” show?it was?reasonable for?Republicans to wait a little longer?for?state election officials to?tabulate the official?outcome?and in some cases, such as in the southern state of Georgia?where Biden leads narrowly, to conduct a recount.??

Biden and Harris?launched Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts using the handle @Transition46, a reference that Biden will be the country’s 46th?president in its 244-year history.??

On the Biden-Harris website,?BuildBackBetter.com,?he said,?"We’ll rise stronger than we were before. We will act on the first day of my presidency to get COVID under control.?We will act to pass my economic plan that will finally reward work, not wealth, in this country. We’ll act to restore faith in our democracy and our faith in one another.???

“We’ll once more become one nation, under God, indivisible, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed,” he said.??

FILE - Protesters hold their fists in the air during a rally in Las Vegas against police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd, June 5, 2020.

Racial injustice

The website said it would also address racial inequity and police reform in the U.S. by working?with?Congress to institute a "nationwide ban on chokeholds"?during police arrests of criminal suspects,?stop "the transfer of weapons of war to police forces," establish a "model use of force standard" and create a "national police oversight commission."??

The Biden-Harris website?also?said, “The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism.?To deal with the growing economic inequality in our nation. And to deal with the denial of the promise of this nation — to so many."?

What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.