In his final testimony before boarding the getaway plane on Wednesday, Trump pre-acknowledged the distribution of vaccines and ending the pandemic. Which is much easier than actually doing something about the pandemic if he had a chance. It is now clear that Trump has indeed developed a strategy: roll back and recognize every success of the Biden administration.
But as CNN reports, anything good that happens to get vaccines into the arms of Americans will be an invention of the Biden team. Before the inauguration, the Trump team had been extremely reluctant to share information. Now that Biden’s employees are actually taking a look behind the scenes, they are realizing that they are in first place. What they find is “just another confirmation of total incompetence”.
Biden has promised to give 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in its first 100 days. It is clear that at least some of these days will be devoted to executing an actual plan, and the stone wall that hid Trump’s strategic incompetence only makes matters worse. Fortunately, this isn’t too far from the situation Biden’s team anticipated.
As reported by the Washington Post, Biden staff had already worked out a new national COVID-19 strategy before they even entered the White House. On Thursday afternoon, just under 24 hours after taking office, Biden will speak to the nation to announce this new strategy. President Biden will reverse Trump’s lazy non-strategy of “leaving everything to the states” by setting up a national testing body, providing schools and companies with uniform guidelines, converting mask requirements into regulations for the transport of something that is only sporadically enforced by industry, which include penalties, and a real plan for vaccine distribution.
Biden also intends to immediately deploy a power that Trump insanely opposed: the Defense Production Act (DPA). As the New York Times reports, Biden’s team has already identified “12 immediate supply shortages” that include both personal protective equipment (PPE) and consumables used for testing. The Data Protection Authority is being used to order more of this material and eventually fill in gaps that have existed since the pandemic began.
The plan also sees a massive increase in testing, including testing of populations and people with no symptoms. With half the nation still having a positive rate above 10% and eight states having a positive rate above 20%, it is clear that most testing is currently limited to those showing symptoms of COVID-19. However, since half of all cases are transmitted by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carriers, testing and isolating those who have an active virus but are not showing symptoms is critical to finally suppressing the pandemic.
A national test strategy. Appropriate PPE and supplies. Consistent regulations for transportation, schools and businesses. And a real plan to get the vaccine out to the most vulnerable Americans as soon as possible.
It sounds a lot like what experts recommended from the start. It sounds like something that could have saved a very large fraction of the 400,000+ lives that have already been lost.
President Biden is expected to make comments on the new COVID-19 strategy at 2:00 p.m. ET. Anthony Fauci, who participated in a call to the World Health Organization Thursday morning for the first time in months, is expected to be there. Daily Kos will provide coverage.