WASHINGTON (FNN) – President Joe Biden unveiled on Thursday his administration’s plan to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to the one used in response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
In fact, President Biden announced during his conference that he instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “to start setting up the first federally supported community vaccination centers, with the goal to open 100 centers within the next month.”
“Our plan starts with mounting an aggressive, safe, and effective vaccination campaign to meet our goal of administering 100 million shots in our first 100 days in office,” said the President. “Our strategy is comprehensive. It’s based on science, not politics; it’s based on truth, not denial.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over 414,000 deaths in the last eleven months, and the President was clear that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.”
“The memorial we held two nights ago will not be our last one, unfortunately. The death toll will likely top 500,00 next month. Cases will continue to mount. We didn’t get into this mess overnight; it’s going to take months to turn this around,” he added.
The 200-page plan, which can be read on the White House website, has seven different goals: regain the trust of the population; mount a “safe, effective, comprehensive” vaccination campaign; mitigate the spread of the coronavirus; immediately expand emergency relief; safely reopen businesses, school, and travel, “while protecting workers”; protect those “most at risk and advance equity”; and restore US global leadership and be better prepared for future threats.
In this last point, one of President Biden’s first executive orders was for the United States to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO), reversing the decision of former President Donald Trump, to be made effective in July. Dr. Anthony Fauci,, and the Biden administration’s top adviser on COVID, would be the US representative for WHO.
A greater challenge would be the first goal, considering the political landscape President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris face as they assume office with only 24% of Republican voters accepting the results of the election, according to a December NPR poll.
“The federal government should be the source of truth for the public to get clear, accessible, and scientifically accurate information about COVID-19. To rebuild the trust of the American people, the National Strategy will signal clear public leadership and a commitment to a robust whole-of-government response that puts science first”, reads the plan.
To aid FEMA, President Biden also instructed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch a federal pharmacy program to make vaccines available at local pharmacies beginning in early February. Earlier Friday, pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens announced that they would also offer in-store vaccines.
“We’ll also task the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare and expand the pool of medical professionals who can administer the vaccine,” the President added.
Biden also said that he would be asking Congress “for the funds to grow the public health workforce”, plus taking “immediate steps to partner with governors, mayors, and other local officials to whom we’ve been talking all along”, and direct FEMA “to establish a COVID response liaison for each state, which means every state will have a point person at the federal level to maximize cooperation between the federal government and the states, and where it falls short to be made known immediately.”
President Biden emphasized, though, that “the brutal truth is, it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated.”
But he also added, “…we will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic. And to a nation waiting for action, let me be the clearest on this point: Help is on the way.”
Juan Carlos Rodriguez is an entertainment and politics reporter for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org