Here Are The Reassuring Details Of The Biden/Harris COVID-19 Plan

by Elizabeth Broadbent
Originally Published: 
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President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president elect Kamala Harris have a COVID-19 plan.

Unlike Trump, who’s been muddling along and whose science officials actually said he beat the virus as cases were spiking, Biden and Harris have a coherent, bullet-pointed plan to mitigate the virus on American soil, potentially (probably, likely, almost definitely) saving thousands of lives. It’s long (as it should be), and complicated (like the virus). But it addresses pressing concerns: health disparities among racial and ethnic groups; availability of PPE as we move into winter, when cases are expected to spike, and more.

Here’s what the Biden COVID-19 plan means for you.

You’ll Have Better, Faster Access to Testing

As CNN says, without better testing, scientists can’t figure out the virus’s source, and can’t conduct decent contract tracing. Since 40% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, we need quick tests. They estimate that 75% of people exposed to the virus need to be quarantined to stop its spread.

Right now, it can be difficult to make it to a testing center. Biden and Harris’s COVID-19 plan aims to double the number of drive-thru testing sites, according to the Biden-Harris Transition site. In addition, Biden plans to invest in “next generation” home and instant testing: no more waiting to see if you’re sick. This will, as the site says, increase our capacity to test Americans: and we need more testing, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Much of that testing simply isn’t accessible to underserved communities: the poor, the racially diverse, those living on tribal lands. Biden’s COVID-19 plan, his transition site says, would “mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country” to “perform culturally competent approaches to contact tracing” and protect those communities.

With Biden’s COVID-19 Plan, You’ll Have Adequate PPE

Harry Truman signed a bill during the Korean War called the Defense Production Act. It allows the federal government to order private companies to prioritize manufacturing items necessary for national defense. Biden’s COVID-19 plan would invoke that act to produce American-made “masks, face shields, and other PPE.” He wants “our stores to exceed our demands” — especially in hard-hit, “disproportionately vulnerable” areas. The nation suffered PPE shortages in the early stages of the virus— and CNN says some of those shortages have worsened.

Moreover, since the PPE would be American-made, we’d no longer rely on other countries to pass us their surplus. So if you’re a healthcare worker, you won’t have to reuse your masks anymore. And the rest of us won’t have to hoard them.

Biden’s COVID-19 Plan Will Push For Hard Guidelines

When should we open restaurants? What about amusement parks? When is it safe to send kids to school? Each state — even each school district — has been forced to gin up its own answers. Under Biden and Harris’s COVID-19 plan, the CDC would provide clear guidelines telling states when to ramp up restrictions and when to dial them back. So you’d have clear answers about what would happen when: no waiting with terror about what the school board might decide tomorrow.

You want to wail about the toll this would take on the overall taxes collected? Biden’s COVID-19 plan covers that. He plans to have a budget to help pay for first responders and teachers, which could take a hit if the economy keeps sliding. He also wants to help out small business, for whom things like plexiglass could also mean a big hit.

Say Hello To Mask Mandates

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Biden’s COVID-19 plan clearly wants a national mask mandate. He probably realizes he can’t make it, though, so he’ll probably make governors pass them in order to receive certain federal funding. He also wants those state orders backed with local mask ordinances. You leave the house, you wear a mask. End of story, mask Karens.

This way, his COVID-19 plan says, tens of thousands of American lives can be saved.

Biden’s COVID-19 Plan Promises Fair and Safe Vaccine Distribution

As Science says, only a terrifying 51% of Americans said in September that they would get a COVID-19 vaccine. But Biden’s COVID-19 plan promises that the vaccine will be free for all Americans, and that its distribution will happen fairly, not just to the “wealthy and well-connected.” Moreover:

  1. Scientists, not politicians, will be in charge of determining the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.
  2. All FDA clinical data on the vaccine will be publicly released.
  3. “Career staff” will write a “public review” and speak uncensored about it before Congress.

So you’re getting a free vaccine. It’ll be safe. And you’ll be able to check the data and assure yourself of it.

The Plan Will Protect the Vulnerable

Biden, at vice-president elect Harris’s behest, will establish a COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force, which will assure that all these things happen fairly and equally in all communities. Nobody left behind. No communities or tribal lands left underserved. If you’re in a group with a higher rate of COVID-19 infection and mortality rate, Biden and Harris’s COVID-19 plan wants to fix that. It’s not fair; they know it; and they want to level the playing field for all Americans.

Because this task force isn’t going away. After the pandemic, it’ll become the Infectious Disease Racial Disparities Task Force. Racial disparities won’t magically disappear; Biden and Harris know it, and they want to fight them.

Biden’s COVID-19 plan will also create a Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard. It’ll let you check, in real time, pandemic rates in a certain zip code. This, Biden and Harris’s COVID-19 plan says, will help all Americans, but especially older and at-risk Americans, who will “understand what level of precaution to take.”

Biden’s COVID-19 Plan Has Us Rejoining the WHO

We’ll be rejoining the World Health Organization, stat, redeploy “disease detectives,” and amp up our detection and response teams to new pathogens across the globe.

Before, when we talked about the pandemic ending, or at least life returning to something close to normal, we had a someday. We had wild guesstimates. No one had a plan. No one offered us concrete solutions. Biden has handed us a COVID-19 plan: a roadmap, a way through the darkness. He’s given us not a promise to end the pandemic, but a promise to save lives, to help the most vulnerable among us, and to do what’s needed to return our lives to something near normal.

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