January 22, 2021
On first full day in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden is expected to sign a second set of executive actions, aimed at making good on his plans to use the might of the federal government to end the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reports.
His administration plans a coordinated federal coronavirus response aimed at restoring trust in the government and focused on boosting vaccines, increasing testing, reopening schools, and addressing inequalities thrown up by the disease.
“We can and will beat COVID-19. America deserves a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is driven by science, data and public health—not politics,” the White House said in a statement outlining the administration’s national strategy on COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness.
The administration’s new strategy is based around seven major goals:
- Restoring public trust in government efforts;
- Getting more vaccine doses into more arms;
- Mitigating the spread—including mask mandates;
- Emergency economic relief;
- A strategy to get schools and workers functioning ag;
- Establishing an equity task force to address disparities in suffering involving issues of race, ethnicity and geography; and
- Preparing for future threats.
According to The Guardian, Biden has pledged to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days and reverse the impact of a year of mismanaged response under Donald Trump that saw more than 400,000 people die and more than 24 million infected – by far the worst rates in the world.
But his executive orders are set to go far beyond just boosting vaccination efforts.
The 46th U.S. president plans to re-engage with the World Health Organization—a reversal from the Trump administration’s move to cut ties during the pandemic. In other moves, the new administration says it plans to set up pandemic testing and vaccination sites, and devise a speedy vaccine distribution program.
On traveling, Biden will sign an executive order requiring people to wear a mask on trains, airplanes and maritime vessels. Another Health and Human Services to give guidance on safely reopening schools.
Biden also will release a presidential memorandum utilizing the FEMA disaster relief fund for providing reimbursement for personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning, and costs needed to safely reopen schools.
The Biden administration is also looking to fix supply shortfalls. Biden plans to direct federal agencies to fulfill supply shortfalls using the Defense Production Act.
Biden will restore a White House team on global health risks set up under Barack Obama and dismantled under Donald Trump.
The executive orders aim to help people of color in particular. One will set up the COVID-19 health equity taskforce.
Biden will issue an order to develop a national strategy to reopen schools, hoping to meet his goal of having most elementary and middle schools open within his first 100 days in office and will ask Congress to provide $130 billion additional aid to schools, $35 billion for colleges and universities, $25 billion for child care centers at risk of closing and $15 billion in childcare aid for struggling families.
Research contact: @GuardianUS