Newly sworn in President Joe Biden and his administration are facing an even tougher task battling the coronavirus than first thought, as sources close to the situation reveal that no vaccine distribution plan was left by Trump and his team.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have made it clear that their initial priority is to regain control over the coronavirus, promising to drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans. This task has already proved tougher than initially thought, with sources telling CNN that the pair were shocked to discover the complete lack of vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, meaning a new system would have to be created by scratch.
Continuing his prioritization of dealing with the pandemic, Biden signed an executive order requiring masks on all federal property, an act he had been promising since before the election.
“This is going to be the first of many engagements we’re going to have in here,” Biden said in his first appearance in the Oval Office as president. “I thought with the state of the nation today there’s no time to waste. Get to work immediately.”
White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters this week that despite the ’lack of cooperation’ from the Trump administration causing an ‘impediment’ for Biden and his team, he was still confident that the new administration could meet its 100 million vaccine shots in 100 days target.
“For almost a year now, Americans could not look to the federal government for any strategy, let alone a comprehensive approach to respond to Covid,” Zients said. “And we’ve seen the tragic costs of that failure. As President Biden steps into office today… that’ll change tomorrow.”
The incoming White House staff are now under intense scrutiny as they go about making good on the promises that Biden and Harris made during the campaign. These promises include drastically turning things around on the pandemic, as well as the administration conducting itself completely differently from Trump when it comes to the virus and vaccine distribution.
“The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. President Biden believes that the federal government must act swiftly and aggressively to help protect and support our families, small businesses, first responders, and caregivers essential to help us face this challenge, those who are most vulnerable to health and economic impacts, and our broader communities – not to blame others or bail out corporations,” a White House statement on the new administration’s plan to combat Covid-19 says.
“The Biden-Harris administration will always listen to science, ensure public health decisions are informed by public health professionals and promote trust, transparency, common purpose, and accountability in our government.”
Prior to his inauguration, a number of Biden’s Covid-19 advisors had warned the newly elected president and his team to avoid being overly critical in public of the Trump administration’s handling of the virus and vaccine. This was because Biden’s transition team were already facing difficulties obtaining critical information and cooperation from the outgoing administration.
Now that the transition of power is complete, Biden and his administration had hoped to quickly ascertain where the country stands with vaccine distribution and administration across the country, going through what exactly Trump had and had not done in a ‘fact-checking’ exercise, a source told CNN.
“Social distancing is not a light switch. It is a dial. President Biden will direct the CDC to provide specific evidence-based guidance for how to turn the dial up or down relative to the level of risk and degree of viral spread in a community, including when to open or close certain businesses, bars, restaurants, and other spaces; when to open or close schools, and what steps they need to take to make classrooms and facilities safe; appropriate restrictions on size of gatherings; when to issue stay-at-home restrictions,” the White House statement continued.
“Invest $25 billion in a vaccine manufacturing and distribution plan that will guarantee it gets to every American, cost-free. We will ensure that politics plays no role in determining the safety and efficacy of any vaccine,” it said.
“The following 3 principles will guide the Biden-Harris administration: put scientists in charge of all decisions on safety and efficacy; publicly release clinical data for any vaccine the FDA approves; and authorize career staff to write a written report for public review and permit them to appear before Congress and speak publicly uncensored.
“Additionally, we shall ensure everyone — not just the wealthy and well-connected — in America receives the protection and care they deserve, and consumers are not price gouged as new drugs and therapies come to market.
“Experts agree that tens of thousands of lives can be saved if Americans wear masks. President Biden will continue to call on every American to wear a mask when they are around people outside their household, every Governor to make that mandatory in their state and local authorities to also make it mandatory to buttress their state orders.”