Washington, USA | THE INDEPENDENT | U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled his national strategy for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic as the country endures record levels of infections and deaths.
“Our national strategy is comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it’s detailed,” said Biden in remarks at the White House on his first full day in office.
Biden signed several orders Thursday including improving supply chains for the pandemic, keeping workers safe, ensuring equitable response, promoting safe travel, and expanding treatment for COVID-19.
“We didn’t get into this mess overnight and it’s going to take months for us to turn things around. But let me be equally clear – we will get through this,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been at the top of Biden’s agenda since his first day in office. His inauguration on Wednesday came at a time when the country recorded more than 24 million COVID-19 cases and over 400,000 deaths.
The richest country in the world remains the worst hit by the pandemic, accounting for more than 25 percent of the global cases and nearly 20 percent of the global deaths.
The United States registered a record high of 4,383 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, and currently the country averages about 194,000 daily increase of cases and 3,000 deaths, according to the data updated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday.
With the absence of a national strategy under the Donald Trump administration, states and cities were largely left on their own in battling the pandemic while political polarization and a rejection of science have stymied the U.S. ability to control the pandemic, health experts said.
Biden’s plan starts with a national vaccination campaign which is to meet his goal of administering 100 million doses of two-stage coronavirus vaccines in his first 100 days.
Biden said the vaccine rollout in the country is a “dismal failure” this far. COVID-19 death toll in the nation may top 500,000 next month, and cases will continue to mount.
The Trump administration planned to inject 20 million Americans by the end of 2020. However, only about 12.28 million doses had been administered as of Jan. 15, according to the CDC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top medical adviser on the pandemic, told reporters Thursday that the United States would soon see one million vaccine doses administered each day.
Things are going to continue to get worse before getting better, said Biden, who signed, among others, the executive order of “100 Days Masking Challenge.”
The order requires masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings, on all federal lands and by federal employees and contractors.
A year into the pandemic, mask-wearing, which public health experts say is among the most effective means of curbing the spread of COVID-19, has been a divisive issue among Americans.
As of Jan. 19, a total of 37 U.S. state governments required people to wear face coverings in public to curb the spread of COVID-19. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have mask orders in place.