/Fauci & Biden Lay Out An Immediate Plan To Fight COVID-19 – NowThis

Fauci & Biden Lay Out An Immediate Plan To Fight COVID-19 – NowThis

President Joe Biden has set into motion his robust national strategy for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by signing 10 executive actions one day after taking office. 

In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Biden introduced his administration’s nearly 200-page plan, which is  “anchored by science and fact-based guidance,” along with a stack of executive actions dedicated to addressing the pandemic. Biden spoke about the more than 400,000 people in the U.S. who have died of COVID-19 and criticized the former Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

“For the past year, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and coordination we needed,” Biden said. “And we have seen the tragic cost of that failure.”

Biden said his plan is to more efficiently vaccinate people in the U.S. and mobilize resources to distribute 100 million shots in 100 days. (It’s unclear whether shots refers to first or second doses, though the New York Times reported that this amount would vaccinate 50 million people.)

He said he has tasked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with setting up 100 vaccination centers within the next month and expanding the pool of medical professionals who are qualified to administer the vaccine. Biden also said he will be asking Congress to contribute more funds to the public health workforce. 

Biden is also asking everyone in the U.S. to wear masks from now until April, which he said could help save more than 50,000 lives. Hours after he was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, Biden signed an executive order mandating masks and social distancing on federal property. He also mandated that people traveling on planes, buses, or trains must wear masks while on-board. 

The 10 executive orders Biden signed on Thursday included more stringent safety protections for essential workers, fighting disinformation campaigns surrounding the virus and vaccine, and creating a clear plan for schools to reopen. Biden is also mandating that international travelers get tested before coming to the U.S. and quarantining once they arrive. 

He also said the federal government would reimburse states that had to deploy their National Guard troops to aid in pandemic relief. The National Guard provided aid by “assisting in state emergency operation centers,” “building facilities such as medical field hospitals,” and other tasks, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Biden added that the administration would work with governors, mayors, and other local officials to “maximize cooperation between the federal level and the states.” 

“We’re still in a dark winter of this pandemic… It’s gonna take many months to get where we need to be,” Biden said. “Despite the best intentions, we’re gonna face setbacks which I will always explain to you.”

Earlier on Thursday, leading infectious disease expert and Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci confirmed that the U.S. would remain part of the World Health Organization. Last May, Trump announced the U.S. would terminate its relationship with the WHO, despite the ongoing pandemic. Biden’s administration retracted the U.S. withdrawal, which hadn’t gone into effect yet.

“The United States will work constructively with partners to strengthen and importantly reform the WHO, to help lead the collective effort to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and address its secondary impacts on people, communities, and health systems around the world,” Fauci said.