WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) – As the United States enters what Joe Biden has warned may be the “toughest and deadliest period for the virus”, the president introduced a new national COVID-19 strategy on Thursday.
Biden also signed 10 pandemic-related executive orders. The ten orders aim to launch his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, laying the groundwork for the reopening of schools and businesses.
“The introduction has so far been a dismal failure. I understand why Americans are frustrated, ”Biden said. “Let me be very clear, things are getting worse before they get better.”
Biden also imposed masking in federal buildings and on interstate travel such as planes, trains and buses.
“This is a time of war,”
Biden said vaccines will be available at local pharmacies. He said he was tasked with expanding the pool of professionals to administer the vaccine in an effort to reach his goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days of office, he said.
Biden said moving forward, each state will have a “federal-level point person to maximize state-federal communication.”
The bite also gives government agencies the green light to use a Cold War era law called the Defense Production Act for direct production.
Although the Democratic Party holds a narrow majority in the House and Senate, legislation is likely to need bipartisan support to transfer the $ 1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package. Some Republicans have raised questions about sending out more direct payments on the heels of last month’s adoption of a coronavirus assistance bill.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the House of Representatives is aiming to bring a coronavirus aid bill to the vote in the first week of February.
Under Biden’s COVID-19 proposal for emergency aid proposals, approx. $ 400 billion goes directly to fighting the pandemic, while the rest is focused on economic relief and assistance to states and localities.
About $ 20 billion would be set aside for a more disciplined focus on vaccination, on top of about $ 8 billion already approved by Congress.
“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, a White House official who led the national response. “Defeating the virus requires a coordinated nationwide effort.”
This comes a year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the United States on January 21, 2020. The first confirmed case from the CDC was a 35-year-old man from Washington who had returned from visiting family in Wuhan , China, the then epicenter of the pandemic.
Now, more than 24.4 million confirmed Americans have contracted the virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Biden’s chief medical adviser at COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also announced renewed US support for the World Health Organization after it was criticized by the Trump administration and imposed new obligations to tackle coronavirus and other global health issues. Fauci said early on Thursday that the United States will join the UN Health Agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapy and diagnostics to people in need and will resume full funding and staff support to the WHO.
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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