Biden announces $1.9 tn COVID-19 stimulus plan to revive U.S. economy

Biden announces $1.9 tn COVID-19 stimulus plan to revive U.S. economy”

When President-elect Joe Biden assumes the Oval Office on Wednesday, Congress will undoubtedly begin work at the Capitol Building on an ambitious plan to reopen most schools closed by COVID-19.

On Wednesday, following his inauguration, Biden will end Trump's restriction on immigration to the USA from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel. His plan includes setting up thousands of vaccination centers for teachers, grocery store workers, and people over 65.

Mr Biden's plan was aimed at kicking off his time in office with a large bill to quickly set into motion his short-term agenda: helping the economy and getting a handle on a virus that has killed more than 385,000 people in the United States as of Thursday.

Biden said his administration would release the vast majority of doses when they became available, rather than hold back a large portion to ensure recipients can get a second dose, which has been the Trump administration's approach for much of the rollout. Pharmacies would also be enlisted as vaccination sites, he said. The honest truth is this: "Things will get worse before they get better", he said, as United States deaths climbed closer to 400,000.

The plan would fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, to focus on encouraging people to get vaccinated and on tracing the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus. "A 100 million in 100 days needs to be seen as only a start".

An administration official said states have still not ordered all of the doses allocated to them, and called it a problem with states' expectations.

During the speech, Biden was critical of the Trump administration's distribution efforts of the two coronavirus vaccines developed through President Donald Trump's initiative, "Operation Warp Speed". His plan calls for the federal government to fully reimburse states that mobilize their National Guard to help distribute vaccines.

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Biden's proposal comes as a divided nation is in the grip of the pandemic's most risky wave yet.

That squares with the judgment of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business lobbying group and traditionally an adversary of Democrats.

However, it was unclear if Mr Biden's plan could make it through Congress in its entirety.

Among other appointments announced Friday were Amy Chang, Policy Advisor; Abbe Gluck, Special Counsel; David Kessler, Chief Science Officer of COVID Response; Rosa Po, COVID Response Team Deputy Chief of Staff; Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the COVID Response Coordinator; Ben Wakana, Deputy Director of Strategic Communications & Engagement; and B. Cameron Webb, Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity. But the American Hospital Association estimates that 246 million must be vaccinated to reach widespread or "herd" immunity by the summer. The Biden administration also plans to launch a public education campaign to overcome doubts about vaccination.

The Trump administration had aimed to give vaccine doses to 20 million Americans by the end of 2020.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccination campaign has only reached 3% of the entire US population.

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