As the United States reportedly became the first, and indeed only nation, to surpass the rather grim milestone of 10 million coronavirus infections, President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his COVID-19 plan. The details for the same were shared on the 'Biden-Harris Presidential Transition' Twitter handle and the 'Build Back Better' website. The handle is new, appearing to have been formed less than a day earlier.
"The task ahead of the Biden-Harris administration is unlike any other in our history. In preparation, our transition will be led by experts, by science, and with character—ensuring that we will be ready to lead on Day One," the handle tweeted. It noted that the work that would be undertaken in the next 73 days would be the "foundation for an administration that puts the health, safety, and character of our communities first".
"President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are confronting a pandemic, an economic crisis, calls for racial justice, and climate change. The team being assembled will meet these challenges on Day One," the website says. It lays out an intended plan of action for various issues that America is facing at present. Vowing to always "listen to science" and to ensure that public health decisions are informed by public health professionals, the Biden-Harris administration put forth a seven-point plan to beat COVID-19. Here we have combined two of those seven points for their similarity in theme.
1. Ensuring that all Americans have access to regular, reliable, and free testing. The website announced the Democratic leaders' intent to double drive-through testing sites, invest in "next-generation testing", set up a "Pandemic Testing Board like Roosevelt’s War Production Board" to distribute tests and a "US Public Health Jobs Corps" to mobilize at least 100,000 Americans "to perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing and protecting at-risk populations".
2. Vowing to fix personal protective equipment (PPE) problems for good, Biden said that he is "taking responsibility and giving states, cities, tribes, and territories the critical supplies they need". The Biden-Harris plan COVID-19 plan adds that the new administration will "dully use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of masks, face shields, and other PPE" to replenish the national supply of personal protective equipment and even exceed the demand.
3. In the recent months, social distancing and other precautionary measures had repeatedly gone for a toss with President Trump holding packed rallies, shying away from wearing masks and so on. The Biden-Harris plan of action seems to have a plan to combat this. In the 7 point plan it promised to "Provide clear, consistent, evidence-based guidance for how communities should navigate the pandemic – and the resources for schools, small businesses, and families to make it through".
Not only that, the new administration also intends to "Implement mask mandates nationwide by working with governors and mayors and by asking the American people to do what they do best: step up in a time of crisis."
As per this:
- Every American to wear a mask when they are around people outside their household.
- Every Governor to make that mandatory in their state.
- Local authorities to also make it mandatory to buttress their state orders.
4. With teams across the globe working to produce viable vaccines to combat the deadly virus, the plan also puts forth a plan for an "effective, equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines". It promises to invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free. It also said that it would follow three principles to ensure that "politics plays no role in determining the safety and efficacy of any vaccine'.
- Put scientists in charge of all decisions on safety and efficacy
- Publicly release clinical data for any vaccine the FDA approves
- Authorize career staff to write a written report for public review and permit them to appear before Congress and speak publicly uncensored.
5. Keeping the elderly and other vulnerable groups in mind, the plan also puts forth its intention to establish a "COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force" and to create the Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check in real-time to help them gauge whether local transmission is actively occurring in their zip codes. "At the end of this health crisis, the Task Force will transition to a permanent Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force," the website adds.
6. The Biden-Harris administration has also expressed intent to "rebuild and expand defenses to predict, prevent, and mitigate pandemic threats, including those coming from China". This includes undoing some of the actions and decisions undertaken by President Trump, such as restoring the "White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense" and repairing the US' relationship with the World Health Organization.