President Biden on Thursday unveiled his administration's national Covid-19 response plan and took additional execution actions to implement the effort, which calls for increasing coronavirus testing capacity, accelerating Covid-19 vaccinations, safely reopening schools and businesses, and more.
Biden's 200-page plan to combat Covid-19, called the "National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness," encompasses a stronger federal response to the epidemic than the United States saw under former President Donald Trump's administration, the Washington Post reports. Biden described his strategy as a "full-scale wartime effort."
Biden's plan centers on seven goals:
To achieve those seven goals, Biden's administration plans to take a number of actions outlined in the national strategy, including:
Other actions outlined in Biden's plan resemble some efforts initiated by Trump's administration. For example, Biden's plan calls for expanding Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to all Americans ages 65 and older—a move the Trump administration announced last week. Biden's plan breaks with the Trump administration's move, however, by not calling for expanding eligibility to younger Americans with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for developing a severe case of Covid-19, the Post reports.
Biden on Thursday also signed 10 executive orders aimed at implementing his national Covid-19 strategy, the Associated Press reports. Among other things, those executive orders aim to:
Biden released his new Covid-19 response strategy as America continues to report persistently high rates of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and as the country has struggled to quickly roll out its two authorized Covid-19 vaccines.
According to data compiled by the New York Times, U.S. officials on Thursday reported about 190,630 new cases of the novel coronavirus. As of Friday morning, officials had reported a total of about 24.6 million cases of the virus since America's epidemic began—up from about 24.4 million cases reported as of Thursday morning.
According to the Times, the United States' average daily number of newly reported coronavirus cases over the past week was 188,110—which is down by 21% when compared with the average from two weeks ago, when the country was seeing a surge in newly reported cases tied to Americans gathering with others over recent holidays.
As of Friday morning, data from the Times showed that the rates of newly reported coronavirus cases were "staying high" in Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; Washington, D.C.; and 13 states that have had a daily average of at least 15 newly reported cases per 100,000 people over the past week. Those states are Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
The Times' data also showed that, as of Friday morning, the daily average of newly reported cases over the past seven days was "going down" in 36 states that had been seeing comparatively higher rates of coronavirus transmission. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In Hawaii and Guam, meanwhile, the rates of newly reported coronavirus cases were "staying low" as of Friday morning, according to the Times' analysis.
U.S. hospitalizations for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, also have remained high. According to data from The Atlantic's COVID Tracking Project, there were 119,927 Americans with Covid-19 hospitalized for treatment on Thursday, including 22,304 who were receiving care in an ICU and 7,370 who were on a ventilator.
According to data from the Times, U.S. officials reported about 4,142 new deaths linked to the novel coronavirus on Thursday. As of Friday morning, officials had reported a total of about 410,336 U.S. deaths linked to the virus since the country's epidemic began, up from about 406,190 deaths reported as of Thursday morning.
On Thursday, Biden said he expects that the number of U.S. deaths tied to the coronavirus will reach 500,000 within the next six weeks. "We're still in a dark winter of this pandemic. It's gonna get worse before it gets better. It's gonna take many months before we're where we need to be," he said.
Meanwhile, CDC data shows that, as of Thursday morning, the federal government had distributed about 38 million doses of the country's authorized Covid-19 vaccines, and about 17.5 million Americans had received their first dose of the two-dose vaccines (Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 1/21; Fernandez/Rummler, Axios, 1/21; Winfield Cunningham, Washington Post, 1/21; National Covid-19 Response Strategy, 1/21; Ollstein/Leonard, Politico, 1/21; Laris/Wan, Washington Post, 1/21; Alonso-Zaldivar/Miller, Associated Press, 1/22; New York Times, 1/22; "The COVID Tracking Project," The Atlantic, accessed 1/22; CDC data, updated 1/21).
Read this Our Take for a full breakdown of what to watch in Biden's first 100 days, including the health care policies the Biden administration could prioritize.
Create your free account to access 2 resources each month, including the latest research and webinars.
You have 2 free members-only resources remaining this month remaining this month.
Never miss out on the latest innovative health care content tailored to you.