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In the most lethal coronavirus wave and facing worrying new mutations, President Joe Biden will start his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccines and testing, reopen schools and businesses, and increase the use of masks, including a requirement that Americans wear a mask for travel.
Biden will also address inequalities in the worst affected minority communities while signing 10 related to the pandemic. Executive Orders Thursday. Those orders are a first step and specific details of many administrative actions are still being explained.

The new president has promised to take much more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with strict adherence to public health guidelines.

President Joe Biden stands during the performance of the national anthem during a virtual presidential inaugural prayer service in the state dining room of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden stands during the performance of the national anthem during a virtual presidential inaugural prayer service in the state dining room of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

He faces major hurdles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress in launching the vaccine, and political uncertainty over whether Congressional Republicans will help him pass a COVID response and economic aid package from $ 1.9 trillion ($ 2.45 trillion).

“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, the White House official who led the national response. “Defeating the virus requires a coordinated effort at the national level.”

Biden officials say they are hampered by the Trump administration’s lack of cooperation during the transition. They say they do not have a complete understanding of the actions of their predecessors in vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states saying they are not getting enough vaccinations even as they are asked to vaccinate more categories of people.

President Joe Biden pauses as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan.20, 2021, in Washington.  (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden pauses as he signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Jan.20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci) (AP)

Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also announced renewed US support for the World Health Organization after the Trump administration withdrew from the world body.

Fauci said early Thursday that the United States will join the UN health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapies and diagnostics to people in need, whether in rich or poor countries, and will resume full funding and support. staff for WHO.

Fauci said early Thursday that the United States will join the UN health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapies and diagnostics to people in need (Photo: December 2020) (AP)

The US travel mask order that Biden is implementing will apply to airports and airplanes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Foreign travelers must submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing for the US and self-quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already imposed masks on federal property.

Although airlines, Amtrak and other transportation providers now require masks, Biden’s order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little room for maneuver for passengers tempted to argue about their rights.

It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to which masks were optional, and Trump made it a point to not have masks and host large gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that properly fitted masks reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

The flags are placed on the National Mall prior to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP)

The Democratic president has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin establishing vaccination centers, with a goal of having 100 up and running in a month. He’s directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start a program to make the vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month. And it is mobilizing the Public Health Service to be deployed to help localities with vaccines.

There is also support for the states. Biden is ordering FEMA to reimburse states for the full cost of using their National Guards to establish vaccination centers. That includes the use of protective supplies and equipment, as well as personnel.

But some independent experts say the administration should set a bar higher than 100 million shots. During flu season, the US can vaccinate about 3 million people a day, said Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Assessment and Metrics in Seattle. “Given the number of people dying from COVID, we could and should do more, like what we can do with the seasonal flu,” he said.

The president-elect took a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a hospital not far from his home in Delaware, hours after his wife, Jill Biden, did the same.
Biden also seeks to expand testing and vaccine availability, aiming for 100 million injections in his first 100 days in office. (9News)

Zients said Biden will not comply with a Trump administration plan to penalize states lagging behind in vaccination by shifting part of their allocation to more efficient states. “We are not looking to pit one state against another,” he said.

Biden has set a goal for most K-8 schools to reopen within their first 100 days, and is directing the Education and Health and Human Services departments to provide clear guidance for safely reopening schools. . States could also take advantage of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help them reopen schools.

Getting schools and childcare up and running will help ease the drag on America’s economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and restaurants to find customers at lunchtime.

But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely hinges on increased testing.

To increase supplies, Biden is giving the green light to government agencies to use a Cold War-era law called the Defense Production Act to direct manufacturing.

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“We don’t have enough testing capacity in this country,” Zients said. “We need the money to really improve the tests, which is so important to reopen schools and businesses.”

This means that efforts to reopen the economy will depend on how quickly lawmakers act on Biden’s proposed $ 1.9 trillion ($ 2.45t) package, which includes separate tables such as $ 1,400 ($ 1,800) in direct payments to people, a minimum of $ 15 ($ 19.36). salaries and grants to state and local governments that some Republican lawmakers deem unnecessary to address the medical emergency.

Biden’s plan estimates that a national vaccination strategy with expanded testing requires $ 160 billion ($ 206 billion), and he wants another $ 170 billion ($ 219 billion) to help reopen schools and universities. The proposal also calls for a large investment in scientific research to track down new strains of the virus, amid concerns that some mutations may spread more easily and also prove more difficult to treat.

Motorists line up to take a coronavirus test in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium on Monday in Los Angeles.
Motorists line up to take a coronavirus test in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium on Monday in Los Angeles. (AP)

As part of his COVID-19 strategy, Biden will mandate the establishment of a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure that minority and underserved communities are not left out of the government response. Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans have borne a heavy burden of death and illness from the virus. Surveys have shown vaccine vacillation to be high among African Americans, a problem the administration plans to address through an education campaign.

But Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the White House’s top health adviser on minority communities, said she’s not convinced that race should be a factor in vaccination. The disparities seem to have more to do with risky jobs and other life circumstances.

“It is not inherent to the race,” he said. “It’s because of the exhibitions.”


www.9news.com.au

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