Biden speaks about his plan to tackle Covid-19: "Help is on the way"

 edition.cnn.com  01/21/2021 13:08:34 
President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21.
President Joe Biden speaks about the Covid-19 response in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 21. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden unveiled his nationalstrategy on Covid-19 to tackle the coronavirus pandemic during remarks today at the White House.

Biden said his strategy was created in response to address the past administration's failure to act with "theurgency and focus andcoordination we needed."

"Things are going to continue toget worse before they getbetter.The memorial we held two nightsago will not be our last one,unfortunately.The death toll will likely top500,000 next month.And the cases will continue tomount.We didn't get into this messovernight, and it's going totake months for us to turnthings around.But let me be equally clear.We will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic. And to a nation waiting for action, let me be the clearest on this point: help is on the way," he said.

The President plans to sign at least 10 executive orders, memorandums and directives focused on addressing the pandemic.

Biden's press secretary and Dr. Anthony Fauci will answer questions at a White House press briefing at 4 p.m. ET.

What we know about the executive orders: Biden will sign an order ramping up supplies for vaccination, testing and personal protective equipment and another boosting development of therapeutics to treat Covid-19.

Following through on his campaign proposals, Biden will sign two executive orders creating a National Pandemic Testing Board to improve US coronavirus testing capacity and a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure an "equitable" pandemic response and recovery.

Another executive order will enhance the nation's collection, production, sharing and analysis of data about the virus.

He will issue an executive order calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release clear guidance on Covid-19, decide whether to establish emergency temporary standards, and directs OSHA to enforce worker health and safety requirements.

Building on the order he signed Wednesday making masks mandatory on federal property, Biden will also take action to require facial coverings in airports and on certain modes of transportation, including many trains, planes, maritime vessels and intercity buses. Thursday's executive order will also require international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to traveling to the US.

Here are some of the other Covid-19-related items on Biden's agenda:

  • He will direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offer full reimbursement to states for the cost of National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such asPPE for schools.
  • Biden will direct the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for safe reopening and operating of schools, childcare providers, and institutions of higher education.
  • Biden also plans to issue a presidential directive to restore America's leadership, support the international pandemic response effort, promote resilience for future threats, and advance global health security and the Global Health Security Agenda.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will also receive a briefing from members of their Covid-19 team on the state of the pandemic and vaccinations.

Watch the moment:

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