The Wall Street Journal: Biden’s Covid-19 Plan: More Gear, Funding, Testing, Data and Face Masks

By Stephanie Armour | Jan. 21, 2021 | Link to original

President Biden on his second day in office released a national Covid-19 strategy and signed 10 executive orders and other directives as part of the plan. Here are details of what is in the plan, and specific changes that people can expect in the weeks and months ahead:

  • Increased supplies such as masks, gowns, gloves, rapid Covid-19 test kits, testing agents and material for vaccines through federal agency actions that include authorizing the Defense Production Act.
  • States and schools will see more funding. Reimbursement for the cost of National Guard personnel and supplies will increase to 100% from 75%, and a federal disaster relief fund will be tapped to cover schools’ eligible reopening expenses.
  • A federal testing board will be created to increase testing, boost U.S. manufacturing of tests, support screening for schools, and ensure equity in testing for communities of color.
  • Travelers will have to wear masks in airports and in certain types of public transportation such as many trains, ships, intercity buses and airplanes. International travelers will have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departing to the U.S. and comply with self-isolation and quarantine guidelines upon arrival.
  • A federal preclinical drug discovery and development program will focus on developing and evaluating treatments for pandemic threats, and will support access to treatments for people without health insurance.
  • Publicly available dashboards with information on Covid-19 cases, testing, vaccinations and hospital admissions will be made available on a national and state basis.
  • Covid response liaisons will be established for each state as the administration supports the launch of 100 federally-backed community vaccination centers and availability of vaccines in pharmacies in the next month.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will release employer guidance on keeping workers safe from exposure, and will examine establishing emergency temporary standards.
  • A federal task force will be created to offer recommendations to Mr. Biden on allocating resources and funding to communities with inequities in virus outcomes by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, and other considerations.
  • A presidential directive focuses on supporting the international pandemic response effort.

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