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US-POLITICS-INAUGURATION

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A new federal strategy to fight the Coronavirus pandemic will be released by President Biden later today. Among the ten executive orders being signed includes initiatives to ramp up testing, reopen schools, and increase the use of masks.

On his first full day in office, Biden announced these plans along with directing agencies to use “wartime powers” to require U.S. companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment for testing. The president emphasized his intentions to work with state and local officials to slow the spread of the virus by all means necessary.

“The National Strategy provides a road map to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century,” Biden’s plan says.

A record number of Americans are dying every day of COVID-19 and even more are testing positive at alarming rates. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 24.5 million people have tested positive for the virus with over 406,000 deaths as of Thursday. Biden hopes to address the newly-discovered deadly COVID-19 strains before they threaten to push the nation’s healthcare facilities to the brink of total disaster.

The President’s plan released Thursday will expand access to care and treatment for COVID-19. It calls for continued research into treatments for COVID, and especially antivirals like Gilead’s remdesivir. Biden will establish a new drug discovery and development program to explore possible remedies for the virus. The president will create a new pandemic testing board to “discover new kinds of effective and rapid tests and scale them up quickly.”

As for the reopening of schools, “The federal government will also provide guidance to schools, businesses and other congregate settings on how to best use widespread testing to slow the spread of the virus and cut off chains of transmission,” according to the plan.

Biden will also establish a “COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force” to ensure vaccines, treatments, masks and other resources reach everyone in the U.S. in a timely manner. An estimated $600 billion is required for the plan which congress would have to approve.