WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden spent his first full day in office focusing on rolling out his national strategy to combat the coronavirus pandemic, signing several executive actions to improve rollout of the vaccine.
Mr. Biden’s plan begins with a national vaccination campaign to reach a goal of 100 million vaccinations, which is enough to cover 50 million Americans with vaccines that require two doses, in the first 100 days of his administration.
“Our national strategy is comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it’s detailed,” Biden said on Thursday.
The entire 198-page Biden plan is posted to WhiteHouse.gov.
Mr. Biden said his plan was developed with guidance from nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, along with other experts. Fauci was at the press conference on Thursday with the President’s Covid czar Jeff Zients.
The President said the American people would be hearing more from Fauci, something former President Donald Trump prevented and eventually stopped from going to the briefings.
“We’re going to make sure they work free from political interference and that they make decisions strictly based on science and health care alone, science and health alone, not what the political consequences are,” he said.
Mr. Biden signed 10 executive orders, memorandums and directives on Thursday, all focused on tackling the pandemic. As of this writing, the coronavirus has killed 408,000 Americans but the President was blunt, saying the figure could climb to half a million by next month.
The President signed executive orders to boost supplies for vaccination, testing and personal protective equipment along with development of therapeutics to treat the virus. Mr. Biden has long stressed the importance of wearing a mask, signing an executive order to require masks in federal buildings and on federal lands.
As part of his campaign promise, Mr. Biden signed two executive orders to create a National Pandemic Testing Board for testing capacity and a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure an “equitable” pandemic response.
The President also asked the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for safe reopening provide guidance for safe reopening of schools, childcare providers, and higher education.
“Let me be very clear: Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better,” Biden said. “It’s going to take months for us to turn this around.”
Mr. Biden faces pressure to deliver on his promises to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and Thursday’s event was the first part in doing that. The President was blunt and honest, saying the virus will take months to get under control at this rate.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that Fauci and other public health officials will be regulars at the press briefings to discuss the process of the vaccination effort and the coronavirus.