Joe Biden vowed Tuesday that he would get 100 million coronavirus vaccines distributed to Americans within his first 100 days in office, claiming he will make it a requirement to wear a mask for those 100 days anywhere he can legally order it.
‘This team will help get at the latest – at the last 100 million COVID-19 vaccine – at least 100 million COVID vaccine shots into the arms of American people in the first 100 days,’ Biden said, stumbling over the wording.
He clarified: ‘100 million shots in the first 100 days.’
Biden, 78, said the focus of his administration would be on getting the vaccine to ‘those most at risk’, including healthcare professionals and those in long-term care facilities as he described distribution of the vaccine as a ‘Herculean task.’
The former vice president announced Tuesday afternoon more health-related and coronavirus task force team members who will join his administration as it responds to the ongoing pandemic.
He unveiled Xavier Becerra as his pick to run Health and Human Services, although he stumbled over pronouncing the California attorney general’s name, saying ‘Bacheria’ before correcting himself.
Vaccine distribution is just one of the three objectives Biden said are at the helm of his coronavirus initiative.
Within the first 100 days, Biden says he will also issue a mass-mask order and work with governors to do the same at a state-wide level.
‘Wear a mask for just 100 days. It’s the easiest thing you can do to reduce COVID cases, hospitalizations and death,’ Biden insisted. ‘Whatever your politics or point-of-view, mask up for 100 days once we take office. 100 days to make a difference. It’s not a political statement, it’s a patriotic act.’
Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to distribute 100 million vaccines within his first 100 days in office during an event announcing and introducing key health and coroanvirus response team members
The former vice president also said he would sign an Executive Order mandating people wear masks in any areas he can legally order it for his first 100 days. ‘Whatever your politics or point-of-view, mask up for 100 days once we take office. 100 days to make a difference. It’s not a political statement, it’s a patriotic act,’ he said
Vivek Murthy, Biden’s incoming Surgeon General, attended the event in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday and made remarks following the president-elect
‘I’m absolutely convinced that in 100 days we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better,’ he continued. ‘First, my first 100 days are going ro require – I’m going to ask for a masking plan. Everyone for the first 100 days of my administration to wear a mask.’
Biden said he would sign an Executive Order on Day One requiring masks wherever he can ‘under the law – like federal buildings, interstate travel on planes, trains and buses.’
‘We’re going to require masks wherever possible if this goes beyond government action,’ he continued.
Biden said priority is getting vaccines to those at-risk like healthcare professionals
Thirdly, Biden wants to implement a plan to get all children back to in-person school.
‘It should be a national priority to get our kids back into school and keep them in school,’ Biden said.
Following his remarks on his health priorities in the first 100 days, Biden announced and introduced a few members of his incoming team.
He announced that Xavier Becerra, California’s current attorney general, would be nominated to lead the Health and Human Services Department. Becerra has led some prominent legal fights against President Donald Trump’s efforts to dismantle the Obamacare.
Vivek Murthy, Biden’s incoming Surgeon General, was present at the event in Wilmington to make remarks at the podium.
Biden also announced Dr. Rochelle Walensky, an infectious disease expert at Harvard Medical, as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Jeff Zients, an Obama administration alum, to be the White House coordinator of the coronavirus response; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine, as lead of a new task force aimed at reducing disparities in response, care and treatment for COVID-19.
Biden demanded during his remarks Tuesday that Congress approve the next coronavirus stimulus package to fund both a vaccine distribution plan and getting children back to the classroom and out of report and hybrid learning.
Biden also announced he will bring on Dr. Rochelle Walensky as his director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined remotely as Biden nominated him to serve as his incoming secretary of Health and Human Services
During his event in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, Biden said vaccine distribution will be one of the ‘hardest and most costly operational challenges in our nation’s history.’
‘We’re going to need Congress to fully fund vaccine distribution to all corners of the country – to everyone,’ Biden urged. ‘Without urgent action by this Congress this month to put sufficient resources into vaccine distribution and manufacturing… there’s a real chance that after an early round of vaccinations the effort will slow and stall.’
‘Let me repeat, we need Congress to finish the bipartisan work underway now or millions of Americans may wait months longer to get the vaccine,’ he said.
Congress is still at a deadlock over relief negotiations, with Democrats claiming the next round doesn’t go far enough and Republicans lamenting it includes too much and will economically stunt the U.S.
Biden said getting vaccinations to teachers, educators and students and putting public health measures in place to protect those populations would be a priority of his first 100 days.
The U.S. has the highest case and death rate of any other countries.
As of Tuesday afternoon there are more than 15 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 285,000 deaths.
Biden described the around 0.019 per cent death rate as a ‘mass casualty’ situation.
JOE BIDEN’S PICKS FOR TOP JOBS
SECRETARY OF STATE: Anthony Blinken
Obama’s deputy national security advisor then deputy secretary of state with long history as a Democratic staffer including for then senator-Biden. Fluent in French having been brought up partly in Paris, he is stepson of a Holocaust survivor.
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Janet Yellen
First woman to chair the Federal Reserve who would also become first woman to run the Treasury. Harvard then Berkeley academic who chaired Bill Clinton’s council of economic advisers before holding series of Federal Reserve roles, and whose research is in labor markets.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Lloyd Austin
Retired four-star general who led CENTCOM, the military command which covers the Middle East before retiring in 2016. Led troops in combat in Iraq and would become the first black Pentagon chief. Will have to get waiver to join cabinet because military are supposed to wait seven years.
SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Alejandro Mayorkas
Cuban-born Mayorkas would be first Latino to lead Homeland Security. He was Obama’s deputy secretary of Homeland Security and a former director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Was the main architect of DACA, the program for illegal immigrants who arrived as children.
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Xavier Becerra
Currently California’s attorney general and a former congressman. Surprise pick led litigation at Supreme Court to keep Obamacare from being struck down and pushed for single-payer healthcare while in Congress. Born to Mexican immigrants and first in family to attend college.
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Marcia Fudge
Former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus a long-term Biden ally and also campaigned for Kamala Harris during her failed presidential run. Seven-term north-east Ohio rep will have to leave the House, slimming an already wafer-thin Democratic majority but her district is heavily Democratic
WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Ron Klain
One of Biden’s longest-standing aides. Most recently was Ebola czar at the tail-end of the Obama administration and was both Al Gore and Joe Biden’s chief of staff when they were vice president. Veteran fixer has alternated Democratic government service with lobbying and lucrative advisory roles.
UNITED NATIONS AMBASSADOR: Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Career diplomat spent 35 years in the State Department and was ambassador to Liberia and assistant secretary of State for African Affairs before being fired by Trump. One of the most prominent black female diplomats in Washington, she was an advisor with Madeline Albright’s consultancy group during the Trump years. Grew up in segregated Louisiana.