Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Plan


(Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Tabitha Fitzgerald, Writer

On Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States of America. On this historic day, Kamala Harris became the first female vice president and first South Asian Vice President of the United States of America. In President Biden’s first few days in office, he has already made many changes and enacted many new policies improving the devastating impact on the United States stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Before taking office, Joe Biden created a seven-step detailed COVID-19 relief plan and Operation Warp Speed, or OWS, which focus on dealing with the current Pandemic, responding to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, and preventing future pandemics from becoming this devastating. In his seven-step plan, President Biden planned to overhaul and increase COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and to increase the production and distribution of personal protective equipment, or PPE for short. In terms of testing for COVID-19, President Biden plans to double the number of drive-through testing sites, invest in in-home testing, and instant tests. He also plans to set up a “Pandemic Board” which will focus on increasing the speed of production and distribution of COVID-19 tests. In his seven-step plan, Biden also focuses heavily on contact-tracing, protecting at-risk communities, and manufacturing and distributing PPE to frontline health personnel, essential workers, and at-risk communities. Overall, President Biden has stated multiple times that he is committed to following the research and science when it comes down to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On his first day in office, President Biden released a national mask mandate that states that masks must be worn on federal property and when traveling on airlines, trains, and other public transportation. While Biden cannot order specific states and counties to enforce mask mandates, the president continues to strongly encourage that individual counties and states mandate the wearing of masks in all public areas. In addition to his recent mask mandate, President Biden continues to push for the institution of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan which, if instituted, would include investing $20 billion in a national vaccine program and setting aside $50 billion to increase testing. 

Operation Warp Speed is a funding branch that focuses on giving money to private companies like Moderna and Pfizer in order to increase the development, testing, and production of COVID-19 vaccines. Operation Warp Speed’s goal of producing over 300 million vaccines and getting as many people as possible vaccinated, and fast, will begin this month. To head the operation, President Biden chose David Kessler. Kessler worked for a time in the FDA setting the standards for drug production in the United States. Unlike some others, Kessler seems to be an incredibly neutral party as he does not own any stock in or profit from any private drug production companies. Operation Warp Speed partners with the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, and the National Institute of Health, as well as other research and health services in order to focus on maintaining the highest standards of safety while producing and distributing vaccines at record speed.