Biden Indicators 10 Govt Orders To Battle Covid Pandemic; Name Protection Manufacturing Act
President Joe Biden signs Executive Orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington upon his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden released the details of his comprehensive plan to fight the coronavirus. He announced 10 orders from the executive branch and directed the authorities to oblige US companies to manufacture N95 masks, laboratory equipment, swabs and other equipment during the war to fight the pandemic.
The president’s plan is focused on accelerating testing for the coronavirus, accelerating the pace of vaccinations, and giving state and local officials more funding and guidance in their efforts to respond to the pandemic. A key component of the plan is restoring confidence in the American public. It also focuses on vaccinating more people, safely reopening schools, businesses and travel, and slowing the spread of the virus.
“The national strategy provides a roadmap to lead America out of its worst public health crisis in a century,” the plan said. “America has always risen to the challenge we face and we will do that now.”
Biden comes into office at a crucial time in the pandemic, say many epidemiologists and U.S. health officials. Nearly 3,000 Americans die from Covid-19 every day, according to Johns Hopkins University, and newly discovered, more infectious strains of the virus have gained a foothold in the United States, threatening to drive the nation’s outbreak to even more deadly heights. The 23-page plan, released on Thursday, expands on the initiatives outlined last week and goes into great detail on how Biden plans to control the outbreak and help the country recover.
Hours after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday, he signed more than a dozen executive actions in the Oval Office, including one that requires masks on federal property. He also plans to require public transport masks and negative Covid-19 tests for anyone entering the country from overseas.
Biden will also use his executive powers to instruct the agencies to use the Defense Production Act to force companies to prioritize production supplies that are necessary for the pandemic response. This could include protective equipment like masks, vaccine delivery supplies and testing supplies, the plan says. The Trump administration also relied on the Data Protection Agency to manufacture ventilators and other relief supplies on several occasions as part of its response to the pandemic.
The executive order, entitled “A Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain” will also guide “the development of a new pandemic supply chain resilience strategy” to strengthen domestic manufacturing of critical supplies.
“It is time to finally resolve America’s problems with supply shortages in COVID responses,” said Biden’s plan.
The government will also seek to accelerate the adoption of Covid-19 vaccines by allocating more funding to local and state officials, creating more vaccination sites, and launching a national awareness campaign. The plan also calls for the administration to “encourage the healthcare workforce to support vaccination efforts,” which could include, for example, waiving some licensing requirements.
Biden had previously announced that his government would give 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days. Jeff Zients, Biden’s Covid-19 Response Coordinator, said on a conference call Wednesday evening that this was just the beginning.
“We are confident that we can get our 100 million shots in 100 days,” said Zients. “But this is really just the beginning where we have to be. We have to vaccinate as much of the US population as possible to get out of this pandemic, but we don’t have the infrastructure.”
Biden will instruct the Federal Agency for Disaster Control to set up 100 “communal vaccination centers” next month as part of this effort. Similar to the Trump administration, Biden’s plan will also encourage states to move forward quickly to expand the groups eligible for the vaccine.
To build confidence in the government’s response, the White House will set up a COVID-19 Response Office to coordinate the pandemic response between federal agencies and establish clear lines of communication with local officials. The federal government will also hold regular expert-led briefings, the plan says.
Even if vaccination efforts accelerate, the plan calls for more research into treatments for Covid-19, particularly antivirals like Remdesivir, made by Gilead. Through an ordinance entitled “Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatment for COVID-19,” Biden will establish a new drug discovery and development program that emphasizes diversity in clinical trials.
In addition to new drugs, further tests are in the foreground in the plan. The President will set up a new Pandemic Testing Panel to discover new types of effective and rapid tests and to scale them up quickly.
“To control the COVID-19 pandemic and safely reopen schools and businesses, America needs to conduct widespread testing,” the plan said.
The safe reopening of schools and businesses is an integral part of the plan. It instructs the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on school openings and the spread of Covid-19 to allow more scientific research on the risk of children returning to school.
The new plan also calls on the health and safety authority to play a bigger role in providing employers with clear guidelines on safe practices and enforcement in the workplace.
Biden will establish a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure vaccines, treatments, masks and other resources reach everyone, including the more severely affected color communities who have suffered disproportionately high death rates in the US
The plan does not have an estimated cost, but the administration proposed their $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package last week. The proposal, known as the American Rescue Plan, includes state and local state aid of $ 350 billion, $ 170 billion for K-12 schools and colleges, $ 50 billion for Covid-19 Tests and $ 20 billion for a national vaccination program.
“We need Congress money to finance the national strategy,” said Zients.