Biden’s COVID-19 Plan

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Adam Schultz

As he takes office on January 20th, President Biden hopes to hit the ground running with new, promising measures to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Jason Lin

On November 14, 2020,  Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States, promising to overturn the Trump administration’s COVID-19 failures and reestablish public health normality. Joe Biden’s victory comes at a critical time during the pandemic. The CDC projects that more than 11 million people in the US have been infected, with close to a quarter-million dead. The pandemic’s incidence rate is also a staggering 47.6 people per 100,000, infecting nearly 138,000 people in a single week. Millions of Americans are anxious for change to the status quo and demand strong leadership to take the helm. 

However, with the Trump administration’s refusal to acknowledge defeat, Biden’s new coronavirus policies are being robbed of precious time. Until there is cooperation among the two political parties, scrutiny of the new administration’s plans is of the utmost importance. Biden’s plans for the CDC and the current federal public health response may have the chance to reshape history.

An important measure the Biden plan is taking is the establishment of a Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard under the guise of the CDC. In an effort to depoliticize coronavirus, the new Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard will function as an easily accessible source of crucial facts about the pandemic; particularly regarding incidence rates and infection hotspots. This program hopes to reduce falsehoods regarding COVID-19 in an effort to save American lives.  Furthermore, the Biden plan will nationalize an effort to standardize COVID-19 protocols among the states. There is currently a great disconnect with the procedures states are following in order to contain COVID-19. For example, many states have different guidelines regarding the wearing of masks; with some mandating it and others restricting it as voluntary. Such disorganization impedes potential effective actions that will save lives. Biden wishes to reorganize the state’s guidelines. However, information regarding the specifics of standardization has been vague. 

Another key part of the Biden plan is the restoration of the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense (WSGB). Previously established under the Obama Administration in 2015, it was disbanded under the Trump Administration in 2018 due to monetary constraints. Under Biden, the WSGB will be reestablished with the administration of top-cabinet and government officials in the field of public health to assist the President in guiding America through the pandemic. 

The Biden plan’s reformation of the government task force is quite substantial. However, it pales in comparison to the national response reformation detailed in the plan. First, it lacks detail on the implementation of easily accessible, free testing. Gone are the days of paid, inefficient, arduous testing. Testing and surveillance will now take the forefront of the COVID-19 response with Biden himself promising to move toward a more scientific method of solving Covid-19. Significant investment in sentinel surveillance and other surveillance programs will make the tracking and tabulation of Covid-19 data much more efficient and effective. 

Furthermore, Biden plans to amend the Public Service Health Act as well as the Social Security Act to cover all Public Emergency costs for infectious diseases. The Biden administration plans to ensure that every person will not need to pay for any out-of-pocket fees for visits related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, preventative services, and any eventual vaccine. To help out with the increase in testing, the Biden administration plans to enforce a national mandate dictating the establishment of 10 or more mobile COVID-19 testing sites per state to ensure testing availability. The deployment of military services and federal emergency medical services are also undertaken in areas of high COVID-19 incidence.

While Biden’s Covid-19 plan does parallel the Trump Administration’s actions in some ways, like in the free distribution of vaccines and general promotion of vaccine manufacturing, Biden’s plan places significantly greater emphasis and trust in the CDC and WHO. Furthermore, Biden’s plan expands greatly in terms of tests available as well as completely free coronavirus treatment. Even though it certainly an upgrade over his predecessor’s plan, the Biden plan faces an upward battle as Covid-19 cases rapidly increase. Only time can tell if such efforts will bear fruit.

Overall, while still in its infancy, the Biden Coronavirus Plan seems rather promising in taking forward steps rather than backtracking and putting America on track with the other countries of the world. However, the current limitations of the plan as well as its own vagueness are making Americans anxious. Cooperation between administrations, governments, and citizens is essential if America wants to find itself out of this nightmare. The Biden Coronavirus Plan may just be the first step needed in this direction.