Biden Unveils Plan As US Records Over 40 Million Covid Cases

On the heels of the escalating Covid Delta variant crisis, President Joe Biden today announced the launch of a new aggressive six-pronged battle plan that will impact an estimated 100 million Americans and companies and organizations across the country. The New York Times noted that, “The sweeping actions are the most expansive Mr. Biden has taken to control the pandemic since he assumed the presidency in January, and will affect almost every aspect of American society.”

Meanwhile, reports suggest, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the US topped 40 million on last week, as per data from the Johns Hopkins University. US Covid-19 case count rose to 40,003,101, with a total of 648,935 deaths as of Monday last week, showed the data, Xinhua news agency reported.

California topped the state-level caseload list, with 4,421,247 cases. Texas confirmed the second most cases of 3,706,980, followed by Florida with 3,352,451 cases, New York with 2,304,955 cases, and Illinois with more than 1.5 million cases. Other states with over 1 million cases include Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee, Michigan and Arizona, according to the university’s tally. The US remains the nation worst hit by the pandemic, with the world’s most cases and deaths, making up more than 18 per cent of the global caseload and nearly 14 per cent of the global deaths. US Covid-19 caseload reached 10 million on November 9, 2020, crossed 20 million on January 1, 2021, and exceeded 30 million on March 24.

Biden told the nation during a special address last week that all federal government employees and contractors will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, all private businesses with 100 or more employees must require their employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Employers will be required to offer paid time off for vaccination. About 17 million health care workers in hospitals, clinics, and other facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments must get vaccinated. Employees of Head Start early childhood education and other federal education programs must get vaccinated, and he urged all governors to require vaccination for school district employees.

It is estimated that this new requirement will cover about 80 million workers, and businesses that do not comply could face substantial fees up to $14,000. President Biden is also calling on large entertainment venues such as sports arenas, large concert halls, and other venues where large groups of people gather to require patrons be vaccinated or show a negative test for entry. The President also announced several actions to increase testing, including mobilizing industry to expand easy-to-use testing production, making at-home tests more affordable, and expanding free pharmacy testing. Masking will still be required for interstate travel through January 18, 2022, and fines will double for those not in compliance.

“President Biden is implementing a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy” to combat COVID-19, the White House announced Thursday. Detailed on the White House website on a page titled “PATH OUT OF THE PANDEMIC” and subtitled “PRESIDENT BIDEN’S COVID-19 ACTION PLAN,” President Biden lays out six strategies. Each strategy employs specific federal government tactics, ranging from “requiring” employee and employer behaviors to actions that Biden is “calling on” states and employers to take:

Vaccinating the Unvaccinated:

  • “Requiring All Employers with 100+ Employees to Ensure their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly”
  • “Requiring Vaccinations for all Federal Workers and for Millions of Contractors that Do Business with the Federal Government”
  • “Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations for Over 17 Million Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and Other Health Care Settings”
  • “Calling on Large Entertainment Venues to Require Proof of Vaccinations or Testing for Entry”
  • “Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time-Off to Get Vaccinated”

Further Protecting the Vaccinated:

  • “Providing Easy Access to Booster Shots for All Eligible Americans”
  •  “Ensuring Americans Know Where to Get a Booster”

Keeping Schools Safely Open:

  • “Requiring Staff in Head Start Programs, Department of Defense Schools, and Bureau of Indian Education-Operated Schools to be Vaccinated”
  • “Calling on All States to Adopt Vaccine Requirements for All School Employees”
  • “Providing Additional Funding to School Districts for Safe School Reopening, Including Backfilling Salaries and Other Funding Withheld by States for Implementing COVID Safety Measures”
  • “Using the Department of Education’s Full Legal Authority to Protect Students’ Access to In-Person Instruction”
  • “Getting Students and School Staff Tested Regularly”
  • “Providing Every Resource to the FDA to Support Timely Review of Vaccines for Individuals Under the Age of 12”

Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking:

  • “Mobilizing Industry to Expand Easy-to-Use Testing Production”
  • “Making At-Home Tests More Affordable”
  • “Expanding Free, Pharmacy Testing”
  • “Continuing to Require Masking for Interstate Travel and Double Fines”
  • “Continue to Require Masking on Federal Property”

Protecting Our Economic Recovery:

  • “New Support for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-⁠19”
  • “Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Process”
  • “Launching the Community Navigator Program to Connect Small Businesses to the Help They Need”

Improving Care for those with COVID-19:

  • “Increasing Support for COVID-Burdened Hospitals”
  • “Getting Life-Saving Monoclonal Antibody Treatment to Those Who Need It”
  • “Expanding the Pool of Health Care Professionals Providing Treatment by Deploying Federal Monoclonal Antibody Strike Teams”
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