President Biden unveiled his national strategy for coronavirus, calling it a “war-time undertaking” and signing a number of executive actions to “beat this pandemic.”
Biden, speaking from the Oval Office, outlined his administration’s coronavirus response, saying it is “comprehensive, based on science, not politics,” and “based on truth, not denial.”
While the vaccine provides so much hope, the rollout has been a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said. “Let me be very clear — things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.”
Biden, painting a grim yet realistic picture, said the death toll from the novel coronavirus will likely top 500,000 by next month.
“We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it’s going to take months to turn this around,” Biden said. “But let me be equally clear, we will get through this. Help is on the way.”
Biden said his administration would mount an “aggressive, safe and effective vaccination campaign,” and vowed to deliver 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, calling it “one of the greatest operational challenges our nation has ever undertaken.”
“We’re committed to getting it done—we will move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated for free and create more places for them to get vaccinated, increase vaccine supply, and get it out the door as quickly as possible,” Biden said.
Biden said he has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin creating federally supported vaccination centers, saying there is a goal to have up to 100 centers by next month.
The presicent announced that the administration will also launch a federal pharmacy program to make vaccines available to communities’ local pharmacies — a move he said would be ready by early February. He also said he has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to “prepare and expand the pool of medical professionals who can administer the vaccine.”
Biden also said he directed FEMA to create a COVID-19 liaison for each state to maximize the coordination between the federal government and states to ensure a smooth vaccine distribution, and also said he would “immediately begin reimbursing states 100% for the use of their national guards to help COVID relief efforts,” something he said both Democrat and Republican governors alike have called for.