President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Friday promised an accelerated response to a formidable and aggravating series of challenges as the economy showed new signs of weakness and the coronavirus pandemic killed more Americans than ever before.

On a day the Labor Department reported that the economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, ending a seven-month period of growth after the country slipped into recession in the spring, Biden said there was “an urgent, urgent need for action. ”

He promised to act quickly once he becomes president to get a stimulus package through Congress to help individuals, small businesses, students, local governments and schools in trouble.

Mr Biden and his staff have not yet finalized the proposal or set its full amount. Forecasters expect more job losses this month, a victim of the renewed surge in the The imposition of bans and other restrictions on economic activity by pandemic and state and local officials should slow the spread.

“The price will be high,” Mr. Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Del.

He pledged to step up efforts to slow the spread of the virus, which claims 4,000 lives every day today – more than those who died during the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War, the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, or the terrorist attacks on 11. September 2001. Mr. Biden’s team said the president-elect will immediately make more vaccines available to states when he takes office, which is a sharp departure from Mr. Trump’s practice of withholding a few shots for the second dose.

“People are really, really, really in desperate shape,” said Mr Biden.

The decision is part of an aggressive effort “to make sure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,” the Biden transition team said Friday. The vaccination schedule, which will be officially unveiled next week, also includes government-run vaccination sites in places like high schools and sports stadiums, as well as mobile units to reach high-risk populations.

The president-elect has vowed to “get at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” during his first 100 days in office.