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COVID-19: What We Know About Biden’s Related Orders

Biden will sign an executive order directing agencies to use the Defense Production Act and "all appropriate authorities" to ramp up the manufacturing and delivery of supplies needed for COVID-19 response.

President Joe Biden.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on his administration�s Covid-19 response in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Biden in his first full day in office plans to issue a sweeping set of executive orders to tackle the raging Covid-19 pandemic that will rapidly reverse or refashion many of his predecessor's most heavily criticized policies. Photographer: Al Drago/Pool/Sipa USA
Sipa USA
(TNS) - President Joe Biden plans to sign several executive orders and actions related to the coronavirus pandemic during his first full day in office.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in shortly before noon Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Hours after taking office, Biden signed a slew of executive actions — including on the pandemic, racial and LGBTQ equity, immigration issues and environmental issues — some of which were aimed at revoking policies enacted under former President Donald Trump.
Administration officials had told reporters the day one actions were "just the beginning" and that more actions should be expected during Biden's first 100 days in office, Politico reported.
Now, Biden plans to take additional actions specifically aimed at curtailing the pandemic, including on vaccines, testing, reopening schools and emergency aid to states. Here's a look at the executive orders and directives he plans to sign Thursday afternoon.
Testing, treatment and vaccines
— Defense Production Act: Biden will sign an executive order directing agencies to use the DPA and "all appropriate authorities" to ramp up the manufacturing and delivery of supplies needed for COVID-19 response, including N95 masks, personal protective equipment, testing equipment and vaccine materials. The act, which Biden has long planned to invoke, allows presidents to expedite supplies and services needed for national defense.
— Pandemic Testing Board: The president will use an executive order to establish the board, which will be tasked with bringing "the full force of the federal government's expertise to expanding testing supply and increasing access to testing."
— Treatment access: Biden will sign an executive order to direct studies and trials to identify COVID-19 treatments and ensure the studies "address the needs of diverse populations." The order will also work to improve clinical care, boost the health care work force, assist care facilities, expand access to long-term care for recovering COVID-19 patients and support treatment for those without health care coverage.
— Data improvement: The president will sign an executive order to "enhance the United States' collection, production, sharing, and analysis of data to support an equitable COVID-19 response and recovery."
— Vaccinations campaign: The administration has a goal of administering 100 million vaccines during Biden's first 100 days in office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will launch the federal pharmacy program, which will make vaccines available at local pharmacies starting in February. On Wednesday, Biden directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin putting together the "first federally-supported community vaccination centers." The goal is to have 100 centers in the next month.
Emergency Aid
Biden will issue a presidential memorandum directing FEMA to increase federal reimbursement to states from 75% to 100%. The reimbursement will cover the costs of National Guard personnel as well as the costs of emergency supplies such as PPE, cleaning and sanitation supplies and vaccination center equipment.
"To help address the health and financial crises faced by Tribal Nations throughout our country and to advance Tribal sovereignty in our COVID-19 response, this Memorandum also expands FEMA resources for Tribal governments," the White House says.
Reopening schools, businesses and travel
— Safely reopening schools: Biden will sign an executive order directing the Education and Health and Human Services departments to issue guidance for schools and childcare services on how to safely reopen amid the pandemic. The order also directs DHHS to collect data on school reopenings and closures.
— Protecting workers: The president will sign an executive order directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue guidance for employers to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure. It also directs agencies to examine ways to protect self-employed workers and others who are not typically covered by OSHA.
— Safe Travel: Biden will issue an executive order mandating face masks in airports and on public transportation. The order will also require that international travelers to the U.S. show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departing and to comply with CDC guidelines on self-isolation and quarantine when they arrive.
The president will use an executive order to establish a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will be in charge of providing specific recommendations on "allocating resources and funding in communities with inequities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity, geography, disability and other considerations."
Additionally, the order will expand data collection on equity measures and increase access to supplies, therapies and vaccines in "underserved communities and high-risk settings."
Global response
Biden will sign 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."
This comes after Biden on Wednesday halted efforts started by the Trump administration to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization.
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