President Biden signs sweeping executive orders and lay out plan to combat COVID-19
WASHINGTON D.C. (KUSI) – With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that the nation’s COVID-19 response is under new management and he’s demanding progress to reduce infections and lift the siege Americans have endured for nearly a year.
The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks.
But, many of Biden’s executive orders are for things already put in place by the Trump administration or private business.
For example, one of Biden’s orders includes a requirement that Americans mask up for travel.
The U.S. mask order for travel being implemented by Biden will apply to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travelers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property.
Biden also is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.
President Biden answered one question from a reporter who pointed out the Trump administration already ramped up vaccine administration process and the country is already on pace to administer 100 million vaccines in 100 days. Biden responded saying, “when I announced it you all said it was not possible, come on, give me a break man.”
Biden also set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he’s ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening schools safely. States would also be able to tap FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to help them get schools back open.
Opening schools was something President Trump called for during the last few months of his presidency, but most of the blue states refused to do so.
Biden, now echoing Trump, says getting schools and child care going will help to ease the drag on the U.S. economy, making it easier for parents to return to their jobs and restaurants to find lunch-time customers.
But administration officials stressed that reopening schools safely depends on increased testing.