By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media
Within hours of taking office this week, President Biden signed a series of executive actions created to spur renewed action against the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Biden signed an order that sets the table for the administration’s response moving forward. The order designated a White House pandemic coordinator and called for other administrative and organizational cleanup. The president also signed an order mandating mask-wearing on federal property and encouraged Americans generally to wear masks outside the home.
Thursday was a COVID-19-themed day, with the president signing 10 pandemic-related orders. These included a plan for safely reopening schools, delivering more aid to states, establishing a pandemic testing board, and protecting worker safety.
These executive actions occurred ahead of the administration’s legislative push for a $1.9 trillion relief plan in Congress, which would include more direct stimulus to Americans and proper funding to back these executive actions, such as manufacturing more vaccine doses and producing more tests. The healthcare industry welcomed this action.
The American Medical Association (AMA) praised the administration “for moving swiftly to implement a desperately needed national strategy to combat COVID-19.”
“We applaud the Biden administration for taking immediate action today to activate the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as testing and vaccine supplies desperately needed to stem the spread of illness and deaths,” AMA President Susan Bailey, MD, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the steps taken today will quickly fix the supply chain issues that have plagued the U.S. for many months.”
The American Hospital Association (AHA) concurred, underscoring the importance of using the DPA to solve the PPE problem. “The directives issued by the administration will also help increase coordination and communication among all stakeholders involved in vaccination efforts and increase access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and care,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack, said in a statement. “Importantly, they will lead to more adherence to the public health measures we know work, especially mask-wearing.”
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