WASHINGTON — President Biden unveiled a broad, 198-page plan to combat the COVID-19 crisis Thursday in an executive order-signing event at the White House, where he assured Americans that help was on the way but warned that things would “get worse before they got better.”
The new commander-in-chief signed 10 executive actions mandating the wearing of masks during interstate travel, boosting the production of the coronavirus vaccine and medical supplies using the Defense Production Act and instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance to schools on how to safely reopen.
He also announced new guidelines that will require anyone entering the US from overseas to be tested before their arrival prior to a two-week quarantine.
Still, he admitted, “The brutal truth is it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated.
“We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said. “Despite the best intentions, we’re going to face setbacks.“ But he declared: “To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.”
President Joe Biden insists it will take “months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated.”
Biden’s biggest task will be accelerating the sluggish level of state-by-state COVID-19 vaccination rates, including in New York, where officials have warned vaccine supplies are about to run out.
During his speech, Biden, 78, took less-than-veiled shots at the efforts of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, despite at least two vaccines having been developed in just a matter of months.
“For the past year, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus we needed and we have seen the tragic cost of that failure: 3,000 to 4,000 deaths per day,” Biden said in front of pool reporters.
“While the vaccine provides so much hope, the rollout has been a dismal failure thus far. I understand the despair and frustration of so many Americans and how they’re feeling,” he said.
“I understand why so many governors, mayors and tribal leaders feel like they’re left on their own without a clear plan to get them through this crisis,” he said.
Last week, Biden unveiled highlights of his plan to combat the disease that has so far killed 400,000 Americans, vowing to deploy FEMA and the National Guard in a bid to make good on his promise to deliver 100 million jabs in his first 100 days in office.