President Joe Biden has warned Americans that there are difficult days ahead regarding the coronavirus pandemic and has predicted that the death toll in the United States will exceed half a million next month.
“Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better,” Biden said Thursday at the White House. “The death toll will likely reach 500,000 next month.”
“Over the past year, we couldn’t count on the federal government to act with the urgency, focus and coordination we needed and we saw the tragic cost of this failure,” Biden said, referring to the more than 24 million cases of COVID and more than 408,000 deaths in the United States to date, the highest totals in the world.
Biden unveiled his new federal plan to fight the virus, called on the national strategy for COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness and signed several executive actions related to the pandemic.
“Our national strategy is comprehensive. It is based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, ”Biden said. The president has been extremely critical of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and called the vaccine rollout to date a “dismal failure so far.”
The previous government set a goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of last year. As of Thursday, more than 17,500,000 vaccines have been administered across the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
One of the goals of the plan is to mount an effective vaccination campaign to deliver 100 million vaccines in its first 100 days, “to mitigate the spread” through improved public health advice and the wearing of mask mandatory, and to safely reopen schools and businesses.
Some of those goals are being addressed through executive actions, 10 of which were signed by Biden on Thursday. One of them will require a mask to be worn at airports and on public transport, including on many trains, planes and intercity buses. Biden also signed orders to create a council to increase COVID testing, address supply shortages, establish protocols for international travelers and direct resources to hard-hit minority communities.
Other executive action includes plans to join the COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Center (COVAX), which aims to deliver vaccines to poor countries, Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told Thursday. the World Health Organization.
Trump had halted funding for the WHO and planned to step down from the group in July, which Biden canceled in an executive order when he took office on Wednesday.
Fauci told ABC News that returning to the WHO was a crucial step to help fight the outbreak.
“It’s going to be really, really important. When you are facing a global pandemic, you have to have international connectivity, ”he said.
Before taking office, Biden proposed a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief and stimulus package that would increase unemployment benefits and provide direct payments of $ 1,400 to households.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the $ 1.9 trillion includes “the components needed to give people the relief they need,” but acknowledged the package would likely change as it called for the approval of Congress.
The House plans to put the bill to a vote in the first week of February, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday.