Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a national strategy to deal with coronavirus pandemic, and signed 10 executive orders and other directives to move quickly to contain the crisis.
The executive actions taken on the new President’s first full day in office aim to ramp up vaccinations, expand testing and reopen schools.
Some of those actions include an executive order to fill supply shortfalls for vaccinations, testing, and PPE. The President directed agencies to exercise all appropriate authorities, including the Defense Production Act, to accelerate manufacturing and delivering of supplies, such as N95 masks, gowns, gloves, PCR swabs, test reagents, and necessary equipment and material for the vaccine.
Biden also signed a presidential memorandum to increase federal reimbursement to states and tribes for the cost of National Guard personnel, emergency supplies, and the personnel and equipment needed to create vaccination centers.
Through another executive order he established a COVID-19 pandemic testing board to bring the full force of the federal government’s expertise to expanding testing supply and increasing access to testing.
Another order was signed to bolster access to COVID-19 treatments and clinical care, establishing a comprehensive and coordinated preclinical drug discovery and development program to allow therapeutics to be evaluated and developed in response to pandemic threats.
He also issued an executive order directing the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating for schools, childcare providers, and institutions of higher education.
An executive order on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls to immediately release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.
Through another order, Biden made it mandatory to wear mask in airports or certain modes of public transportation.
A COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force has been established to provide specific recommendations to the President for allocating resources and funding in communities with inequities by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, and other considerations.
Announcing the 10 measures, Biden said it would take months to defeat the pandemic, but America would “get through this” with people’s unity.
Biden warned of the difficult days ahead and and predicted the US death toll from the deadly disease will cross 50,000 by February.
“For the past year, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and coordination we needed and we have seen the tragic cost of that failure,” Biden said, referring to the lackadaisical approach towards the pandemic that killed more than 400000 Americans.
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