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Biden Win Signals a Turning Point in U.S. Coronavirus Response

Every 30-40 seconds in America today, someone gets a Covid infection that will kill them. Joe Biden Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

BLOOMBERG, NOVEMBER 7, 2020

President-elect can’t take over virus fight until Jan. 20 | Plan includes emphasis on masks, money for testing and aid

By Tyler Pager and John Tozzi for Bloomberg – President-elect Joe Biden’s victory signals a turning point in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, as he promises a newly aggressive federal effort to contain a virus that is spiking nationwide in contrast to a president who has consistently downplayed the outbreak’s dangers and promised it would disappear.

But while the president-elect can begin to lay the groundwork for a more muscular approach and a vastly different messaging campaign than President Donald Trump, Biden will have to wait until he is officially inaugurated on Jan. 20 to put any of those plans into place.

President-elect Joe Biden’s victory signals a turning point in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, as he promises a newly aggressive federal effort to contain a virus that is spiking nationwide in contrast to a president who has consistently downplayed the outbreak’s dangers and promised it would disappear.

But while the president-elect can begin to lay the groundwork for a more muscular approach and a vastly different messaging campaign than President Donald Trump, Biden will have to wait until he is officially inaugurated on Jan. 20 to put any of those plans into place.

Still, Biden’s transition team has been working for months on how to coordinate federal agencies to execute the plans Biden outlined months ago. The proposals include a national mask mandate — although Biden has acknowledged that would be difficult to enforce except on federal property.

“I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.”

“I will bring together Republicans and Democrats to deliver economic relief to working families, schools, and businesses,” Biden said in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Oct. 30. “As I’ve said before, I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.”

Biden released a plan to combat the coronavirus that says its aim is to restore trust, create a cohesive national strategy, make treatments affordable, provide economic relief to those impacted by the virus and work with other countries to combat the spread.

Biden said he would restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which the Trump administration had folded into another office at the NSC.

He also plans to provide a daily public White House report on how many tests have been conducted, expand surveillance programs by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, instruct federal agencies to take action to expand America’s hospital capacity and expand tele-health capabilities across the country.

The plan also says federal health agencies will collaborate on vaccine development, establish a public health corps to assist with testing and contract tracing, and fully fund and expand authority for the National Disaster Medical System to reimburse providers for Covid-19 treatment costs that are not directly covered by health insurance.

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