Today, President Biden held a press briefing to announce his pandemic action plan, a six-fold strategy to combat the spread of the virus. It contains elements that could affect upwards of 100 million Americans, according to President Biden. Here is an overview of Biden's six-fold plan.
Vaccinating the Unvaccinated
President Biden announced several policy changes that will "reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans." To begin, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will mandate that every company with 100 employees or more must require their employees to be fully vaccinated or produce weekly negative tests.
In addition, President Biden signed an executive order requiring all federal employees of the executive branch to be fully vaccinated. Government contractors and their employees must be fully vaccinated as well. Also, any hospital or health care facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements must require their employees to be fully vaccinated.
Further Protection for the Vaccinated
For those that are vaccinated, President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to release Covid booster shots the week of September 20th, pending FDA approval. Like the original vaccines, the booster shots will free and widely available.
Keeping School Open Safely
The plan also addresses the "safety of students, families, and their communities." All teachers and staff of Head Start and Early Head Start programs nationwide, which academically prepare students to enter kindergarten, must be fully vaccinated. Teachers and staff that work at Department of Defense schools and schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education will be required to be fully vaccinated as well.
President Biden called on every state to require vaccination of their public school teachers and staff. To date, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington already have such requirements.
Testing and Masking
Ensuring the Covid-19 tests continue to be produced and made widely available is a top priority. The Biden Administration purchased 280 million Covid-tests, which will be distributed to long-term care facilities, community testing sites, prisons, and more.
In a move to increase the availability of rapid tests for consumers, retailers such as Walmart and Amazon will be offering at-home rapid Covid-19 tests at cost for the next three months. This will be starting as soon as this coming weekend.
Masks will continue to be required in all public transportation venues and on federal grounds. To support TSA's mask mandate, Biden announced a doubling of fines for those that violate the mask mandate.
Protecting the Economic Recovery
To promote the growth of the economy, Biden announced the changes to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for small businesses. These changes include an increase of the loan cap from $500K to $2 million, as well as other changes. Changes were made to the Payment Protection Program (PPP) to allow borrowers to expedite their loan forgiveness application.
Improving Care for Those Battling the Virus
To support hospitals that are nearing patient capacity, the Department of Defense will double the number of DOD clinical teams sent to help strained hospitals. The Biden Administration will also increase their shipment of monoclonal antibody treatment by 50% to hospitals around the U.S. and amend the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act so more medical providers, including pharmacists, can administer monoclonal antibody treatment.
Conclusion: Biden's Pandemic Action Plan Will Affect Millions
This six-fold strategy geared to combat Covid-19 could affect nearly 100 million Americans, according to President Biden. In the conclusion of the press release, it states, "In the weeks ahead, the President will announce additional steps to build on the progress the Administration has made to combat this pandemic." This may suggest that more changes will be coming in the future.
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