Day zero of Joe Biden’s presidential administration, the federal government’s only priority must be Covid-19. Without lowering the number of deaths and infections, no other policy – economic improvement, immigration reform, even a serious approach to stopping climate change – can materialize. And this phrase also works backwards; dealing with Covid-19 East dealing with all these other things.
Like any large machine, the federal government’s public health system takes time and energy to upgrade. It did not perform at peak efficiency during Donald Trump’s administration. So nothing will change at first. And then something will. And then everything will be.
Assuming everything goes as planned. For a year, nothing has gone as planned, although there was a plan at all.
So the new plan: Last week, Biden introduced a new, more aggressive approach, part of a to promise to let science drive policy during his tenure. America’s broken and underfunded public health system has been unable to cope with the pandemic, leaving vaccines as the best and only hope, for now, to control it. But for all the lightning speed of their development and testing, the deployment of vaccines has been, in the words of Biden (and everyone else), “a dismal failure.” Biden has now set a goal of donating 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of administration. (As of Jan. 19, the number in the United States was 14.7 million, according to Bloomberg tracker.)
It won’t be easy, but it is possible. Biden has offered to open up who is allowed to be vaccinated – bypassing the tier system recommended to states by various government panels in an effort to ensure fairness as well as rapid injections. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will build 100 mass immunization centers in places like stadiums and convention centers, and the federal government will also deploy mobile immunization clinics – managed, Biden said, by FEMA and the United Nations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and staffed by public health corps, retired health professionals, even military personnel.
Of course, for all of this to work, the government will need to increase vaccine production and improve distribution. Last week, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar also offers the release of “withheld” doses to ensure the second injections required by both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and the opening of vaccinations to all people over 65 years of age. It was just before The Washington Post reported that there was not enough vaccine for everyone. “Our plan is as clear as it is bold: to get more people vaccinated for free. Create more places where they can get vaccinated. Mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms. Increase the supply and get it out ASAP, ”Biden said on Friday. “This will be one of the most difficult efforts ever undertaken by our country, but you have my word, we will handle the hell of this operation.
(Biden also said he will enforce masks wherever federal policy permits, and ask everyone to mask themselves. It’s one of the only public health efforts that could have any real effect. , But politicization of mask use impaired its effectiveness. “Frankly, it was shocking to see members of Congress, when the capital was besieged by a murderous mob of thugs, refusing to wear masks while they were in safe places,” Biden said. “Republican colleagues refusing to put them on – what does that do to them? It’s time to grow up. “)