On January 21, 2021, newly inaugurated President Biden signed 10 executive order and “other directives” relating to COVID-19. A White House “Fact Sheet” was sent to the press outlining these 10 executive orders and other directives – and today we’re taking a brief look at what it all means.
10 Executive Orders for COVID-19
A variety of orders were signed by President Biden within the first 24 hours of his Presidency. The entirety of this list – and the rest of the Executive Orders signed by Biden – can be found at The White House briefing room. We’re hoping this portal remains not only open, but updated regularly during this administration.
1. Executive Order directing agencies to fix supply of personal protective equipment, materials for testing (COVID-19), and vaccines. This includes supply through the Defense Production Act.
2. Presidential Memo (not EO) ramping up FEMA federal reimbursement from 75% to 100% of the cost of National Guard personnel and emergency supplies. This money should be used to support safe school reopening with FEMA Disaster Relief Funds.
3. Executive Order establishing Pandemic Testing Board. This same EO increases testing capacity directing use of the Defense Production Act. This order also promotes surge capacity of testing in the USA, onshore test manufacturing, expand public health workforce, support COVID-19 screening for schools, ensure equitable access.
4. Executive Order directing studies to identify treatments for COVID-19. This includes large randomized trails. It also establishes a preclinical drug discovery and development program allowing evaluation and development of therapeutics for pandemic threats.
5. Executive Order aimed at improving data collection, production, sharing, and analysis for COVID-19. This EO orders the creation of publicly available dashboards with national and state level information on cases, testing, vaccinations, and hospital admissions.
6. An Executive Order that pushes the USA’s Education Department and Health Department to provide safe reopening and operating for child care providers, gradeschools, and higher education.*
*Of SPECIAL note here, this EO encourages the FCC to push for reliable home broadband and increased connectivity for students doing distance learning.
7. An OSHA Executive Order calling for the immediate release of guidance for employers on best practices for keeping workers safe from COVID-19. This EO for OSHA demands that OSHA enforce worker health and safety requirements.
8. An Executive Order that requires the wearing of protective masks on public transport – trains, airplanes, ships, intercity busses, and in airports. This order demands proof of a negative COVID-19 test for international travelers BEFORE they depart their origin, headed for the USA.
9. An EO to establish a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. This EO expands equity data collection, increases personal protective equiment access, testing, therapies, and vaccines. This EO directs the new COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force to work with local leaders across the United States to address needs in food, housing, and childcare.
10. A Presidential Directive to Organize and Mobilize the United States Government “to Provide a Unified and Effective Response to Combat COVID-19 and to Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security.” Take a peek at that order on its own as it really sums the whole bunch up nicely.