Following promises to approach the coronavirus pandemic that has left more than 400,000 Americans dead in just under a year (and the current daily death toll in the thousands) the President Joe Biden shared the first glimpse of his “full-scale wartime effort” on the federal level to get the virus under control. The 200-page plan, released on the Whitehouse website on Thursday details strategies from public health best practices and plans for producing and allocating resources for testing and vaccination to guidelines for potentially re-opening various parts of American communities within the next year.
“In the following pages, you will find my Administration’s national strategy to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a comprehensive plan that starts with restoring public trust and mounting an aggressive, safe, and effective vaccination campaign. It continues with the steps we know that stop the spread liked expanded masking, testing, and social distancing,” Biden wrote in a note introducing the plan. “It’s a plan where the federal government works with states, cities, Tribal communities, and private industry to increase supply and administer testing and the vaccines that will help reopen schools and businesses safely. Equity will also be central to our strategy so that the communities and people being disproportionately infected and killed by the pandemic receive the care they need and deserve. Our national strategy will be driven by scientists and public health experts who will regularly speak directly to you, free from political interference as they make decisions strictly on science and public health alone.”
In the plan, the seven goals outlined include “restoring trust with the American people; mounting a safe, effective and comprehensive vaccination campaign, mitigating spread through expanding masking, testing, data, treatments, health care workforce, and clear public health standard; immediately expanding emergency relief and exercise the Defense Production Act, Safely reopen schools, businesses and travel while protecting workers; protect those most at risk and advance equity, including across racial, ethnic and rural/urban lines and restore U.S. leadership globally and build better preparedness for future threats.”
Data-Driven, Science-first Policy
We got a first glimpse at the science-first philosophy of the new administration (outlined thoroughly in the education campaigns for masking, vaccinations and other public health precautions) on Thursday when Dr. Anthony Fauci took to the White House briefing room podium to share that the United States would once again rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO). He also added that the new administration would prioritize scientific accuracy and transparency to attempt to curb the pandemic that has become “historic in a very bad sense.”
“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the evidence — what the science is, and know that’s it, let the science speak, it is somewhat of a liberating feeling,” Fauci said. “…One of the things that was very clear as recently as about 15 minutes ago, when I was with the President, is that one of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest. If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them. And to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. That was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the President.”
A ‘Wartime’ Strategy
In addition to the educational efforts, Biden also outlined his plans for addressing the necessary resources required to enact his plan — particularly how to expedite making the necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), vaccination and testing supplies.
In one of his earliest executive orders, Biden called for an analysis of any supply chain shortfalls in supplies needed to combat the pandemic and encouraged agencies to take “appropriate action using all available legal authorities, including the Defense Production Act (DPA), to fill those shortfalls as soon as practicable by acquiring additional stockpiles.”
The Trump administration had previously invoked the DPA in April 2020, per Council on Foreign Relations, to “crack down on hoarding, limit exports of medical goods, and increase production of critical supplies,” but it’s anticipated that the Biden administration’s approach will be more robust.”
‘We Are Still In A Dark Winter’
As he closed out his note, Biden states that the pandemic (as exhausting and draining and traumatizing as it has been) is far from over — and that it’ll take a collective, community effort to see each other through to the other side: “The honest truth is we are still in a dark winter of this pandemic. It will get worse before it gets better. Progress will take time to measure as people getting infected today don’t show up in case counts for weeks, and those who perish from the disease die weeks after exposure. Even as we make progress, we will face setbacks. But I know we can do it, and that a true national strategy will take all of us working together. It will take Congress providing the necessary funding. Families and neighbors will need to continue looking out for one another. We will need health care providers, businesses, civic, religious and civil rights organizations, and unions all rallying together in common purpose and with urgency, purpose, and resolve. We will need to reassert America’s leadership in the world in the fight against this and future public health threats.”
Since we’ll still be masking up for the forseeable future, this kids face mask gallery is a good place to start shopping: