Biden Ramps Up Covid Fight With Orders Nixing Trump Policies

Biden Ramps Up Covid Fight With Orders Nixing Trump Policies

12:38 - U.S. President Joe Biden in his first full day in office plans to issue a sweeping set of executive orders to tackle the raging Covid-19 pandemic that will rapidly reverse or refashion many of his predecessor’s most heavily criticized policies.

Biden Thursday is set to invoke orders to overhaul and unify the U.S. approach to virus testing, use federal powers to stabilize the supply chain for critical medical supplies, and boost the government’s ability to provide rapid and equitable vaccine distribution, according to a Biden administration briefing.

Biden is inheriting from former President Donald Trump a Covid testing strategy and vaccine rollout he has called a “dismal failure,” and he has warned there will be no quick fixes for ending the crisis. On Wednesday, though, members of his Covid-19 team outlined a strategy using all levers of the federal government to attack the pandemic, starting with 10 executive orders.

The team said it was confident that Biden’s promise to immunize 100 million people in 100 days could be achieved. But while some of the plans will be funded by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Jeff Zients, Biden’s Covid-19 task force coordinator, said it’s important for the U.S. Congress to quickly approve funding for the effort.

“What we’re inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined,” Zients said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

While the Biden team promised to produce more vaccine supply as well as places for people to be immunized, Zients declined to say when the vaccine would be available to the vast majority of Americans.

Federal Response
Taken together, the orders planned by Biden seek to form a more cohesive federal response to the pandemic while increasing transparency and assuring that populations hardest hit by infections and deaths have access to testing, treatment and methods for containing cases.

”It’s a plan driven by science, data and public health, it’s not driven by politics,” Zients said.​

The Trump administration took a decentralized approach to many of the thorniest challenges of the pandemic, leaving policies on issues such as masking, vaccine distribution and testing to the states, creating an uneven patchwork of rules that at times left states competing for resources and businesses grappling with competing standards.

Health departments, already stretched thin from responding to the pandemic, are struggling to fairly and efficiently administer vaccines. The decision by some states to expand vaccinations to those 65 and older has overwhelmed vaccine centers.

“What we’re inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined,” Zients said in a call with reporters Wednesday.

While the Biden team promised to produce more vaccine supply as well as places for people to be immunized, Zients declined to say when the vaccine would be available to the vast majority of Americans.

Federal Response
Taken together, the orders planned by Biden seek to form a more cohesive federal response to the pandemic while increasing transparency and assuring that populations hardest hit by infections and deaths have access to testing, treatment and methods for containing cases.

”It’s a plan driven by science, data and public health, it’s not driven by politics,” Zients said.​

The Trump administration took a decentralized approach to many of the thorniest challenges of the pandemic, leaving policies on issues such as masking, vaccine distribution and testing to the states, creating an uneven patchwork of rules that at times left states competing for resources and businesses grappling with competing standards.

Health departments, already stretched thin from responding to the pandemic, are struggling to fairly and efficiently administer vaccines. The decision by some states to expand vaccinations to those 65 and older has overwhelmed vaccine centers.

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