U.S. President Joe Biden moved swiftly on his first full day in the White House on Thursday to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, his top priority as he turns the page on four years of Donald Trump’s tumultuous leadership.
The Biden administration is aiming at a coordinated federal coronavirus response to the 10-month pandemic, focused on boosting vaccines, increasing testing, reopening schools and addressing inequalities thrown up by the disease.
Biden will sign a series of executive orders related to the pandemic later on Thursday, including requiring mask-wearing in airports and on certain public transportation, including many trains, airplanes and intercity buses, officials said.
The administration will also expand vaccine manufacturing and its power to purchase more vaccines by “fully leveraging contract authorities, including the Defense Production Act,” according to the plan.
Biden will also direct the Federal Emergency Management Administration to reimburse states and tribes fully for the costs associated with National Guard-related efforts to combat the virus.