BOSTON (CBS) – With a new president comes a new approach to COVID-19. The Biden Administration vows to make getting the pandemic under control its number one priority. Dr. Mallika Marshall explains the first step is to relieve states of some of the burden.
What will that look like?READ MORE: Spring Is Here: Near Record Warm Temps This Week, More Day Light Coming
The prior administration left much up to the states to coordinate, but the Biden team wants to broaden the federal government’s role, providing more funding and more guidance to the states. Many states have floundered trying to bid for equipment, secure vaccine doses, and track the virus’s spread on their own. But the federal government will now provide more assistance.
One big change will be a mask mandate
Yes, the president will ask everyone to wear masks and mandate that masks be worn by federal workers, in government buildings, and during interstate travel. And you’ll see a real public awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of wearing masks, a stark contrast with the prior administration.
What about testing?READ MORE: CDC Says Fully Vaccinated People May Meet Without Masks Or Social Distancing
The administration plans to ramp up testing, making it more available and affordable, expand contact tracing so we can better contain the virus, and increase surveillance for new genetic variants. They’re expected to use the Defense Production Act to speed the production of supplies for healthcare workers, testing, and vaccinations, like test tubes and syringes.
The President says he wants 100 million vaccinations given in his first 100 days. Is that possible?
About 30 million vaccine doses have been distributed but only about a third of those have been given so far. But the new administration wants to expand who can get vaccinated, encouraging states to add those 65 and older to the other priority lists. They want to build 100 mass vaccination centers like those at Gillette stadium and establish thousands of mobile and community vaccination clinics, using military support if necessary. And enlist the help of commercial and neighborhood pharmacies.
But President Biden is going to need Congress’ help?MORE NEWS: These Are The Most Popular Dog Names In Boston, According To Licensing Data
Yes. He has an ambitious economic relief plan, including providing more paid sick leave to allow workers to stay home if they’re sick or exposed to the virus. But he will need money from Congress to get a lot of this done.