President Joe Biden’s first full day in office Thursday will focus on Covid-19, rolling out his national strategy for the pandemic amid the Trump administration response he inherited, with record high cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
There is a lot of work to do, officials said, and it’s actually “so much worse” than they thought.
“For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to Covid. And we've seen the tragic costs of that failure. As President Biden steps into office today that, that'll change tomorrow,” White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday.
The Biden strategy, he said, will be “a fundamentally different approach from the Trump administration,” and will be “driven by science, data, and public health,” not politics.
Here’s a preview of the actions we can expect:
- Executive order on supplies for vaccination, testing, and PPE
- Presidential memorandum directing FEMA to increase federal reimbursement from 75% to 100%
- Executive order to establish Covid-19 Pandemic Testing Board to expand testing supply and increase access
- Executive order to establish development of therapeutics
- Executive order to enhance US collection, production, sharing and analysis of data
- Executive order to direct Department of Education and HHS to provide guidance for safely reopening and operating of schools, child care providers, and institutions of higher education
- Presidential memorandum directing FEMA to offer reimbursement for eligible emergency supplies such as PPE for schools
- Executive order calling on OSHA to release clear guidance on Covid-19, decide whether to establish emergency temporary standards, and directs OSHA to enforce worker health and safety requirements
- Executive order to require mask wearing in airports and on certain modes of transportation, including many trains, planes, maritime vessels, and intercity buses. This order also requires international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to coming to the US
- Executive order to ensure equitable pandemic response and recovery, including the creation of the Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force
- Presidential directive to restore America’s leadership, support the international pandemic response effort, promote resilience for future threats, and advance global health security and the Global Health Security Agenda