The President elect, Joseph Biden, spoke on the last Thursday before his scheduled inauguration about his plans for dealing with the twin crises in the United States, the crisis of the economy and the crisis of public health. What follows concerns what he said under the second of those headings.
Biden called the vaccine rollouts under outgoing President Trump and “Operation Warp Speed” a dismal failure, and he added that his administration will “have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” through closer cooperation between the federal government and the states. Biden wants 100 million Americans vaccinated by the end of his first 100 days in office.
His plan also provides $50 billion to expand testing, with the expectation that testing will allow for a gradual re-opening of schools. It provides, too, for about $130 billion to help the schools with those re-openings while minimizing risk of further contagions.
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The US Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobbying group, issued a generally favorable reaction to Biden’s comments, although the Chamber’s political sympathies usually skew against Democrats. The Chamber said, “We must defeat COVID before we can restore our economy and that requires turbocharging our vaccination efforts.”