White House announces new six-prong plan to combat the COVID-19 surge
By Alex Budzynski, Editor-in-Chief
President Joe Biden announced a new six-prong strategy last Thursday to combat the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, ordering new federal vaccine requirements for the upwards of 100 million Americans.
In a speech delivered from the White House, Biden sternly criticized an estimated 80 million people who remain unvaccinated.
“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
The president’s new rules require all employers with more than 100 workers to require vaccines or to participate in weekly testing. Additionally, he mandated vaccines for all federal workers, contractors and personnel at health facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later clarified that medical and religious exemptions will be observed as these new policies roll out.
Biden also urged governors to require vaccines for school district employees and recommended proof of vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests for large gatherings. The president’s plan also laid the groundwork for a booster shot campaign that is expected to begin in a matter of weeks, given approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
His plan included six pieces: vaccinating the unvaccinated, furthering protection for the unvaccinated, keeping schools safely open, increasing testing and requiring masking, protecting economic recovery and improving care for those with COVID-19.
Hours after his speech, the Republic National Convention (RNC) announced its intent to file a lawsuit against the presidential administration.
“Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price.”
Contrastingly, the president’s new guidelines received praise from the American Medical Association, the National Association of Manufactures and the Business Roundtable, among others.
Biden’s new strategy emerges as the delta variant continues to spread like wildfire, despite 75% of adults having received the first dose of the vaccine. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. is seeing approximately 300% more COVID-19 infections per day and twice the number of deaths compared to this time last year.