President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $400 billion COVID-19 plan last week. Biden’s American Rescue Plan is destined to help the American people get through the coronavirus crisis at a time where the country is in the middle of its biggest surge. The plan includes a “national vaccination program” in which the government takes action to accelerate the vaccination process and also promises to increase testing.
With the number of COVID-19 deaths now approaching 400,000 and the number of cases up to 24 million, The United-States is one of the countries that have been the most affected by the pandemic. But with Biden’s promised plan, there might be potential to control the situation.
Last week, the president-elect asked for $20 billion in order to expand the vaccination efforts. The soon-to-be president made the promise to deliver 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency. So far, the vaccination process has not been as fast as expected and Biden’s plan is destined to ramp up the current pace. The outcome of the vaccine rollout will be a crucial component in Biden’s presidency, giving him the opportunity to make a good impression on the American people as well as giving him the chance to take action on the pandemic.
Biden’s plan might be the initiative that changes the course of the crisis. However, fulfilling the promise to deliver 100 million doses within 3 months will undoubtedly be a challenge since America’s vaccine supplies are extremely limited and the delivery date for the additional order remains uncertain. Biden will also have to deal with the population’s skepticism toward the vaccine, which will certainly put at risk his ability to fulfill his promise.
Although vaccination promises to help reduce the number of cases, the president-elect also asked for $50 billion to scale up testing.
His plan includes buying more rapid tests to ensure that “Americans get a test for free when they need one”. One of his advisers suggested that the $50 billion could be spent on rapid antigen tests which have recently been approved by the FDA. This type of test is a great resource to help identify people in the asymptomatic group and could be crucial in the efforts to stop the spreading since it provides quick results and can be used to test a lot of people in a short period of time.
The increased testing is what will allow schools and other institutions to reopen safely after the lockdown and help ensure that vulnerable places like prisons and nursing homes are protected. Rapid tests are still not widely available for now, but the problem could be fixed if Biden’s plan is approved which would allow him to make massive investments.
The American Rescue Plan includes a wide range of measures such as hiring 100,000 health workers, providing emergency paid leave to 106 million workers, and helping vulnerable populations.
If everything goes as planned, the US might be able to slow down the spreading and reduce the deaths due to coronavirus. But right now, there is still a lot to do and Biden will have to show a lot of leadership to control this crisis.