On Thursday, President Biden announced his administration’s six step plan to stop the spread of the Delta variant, increase vaccinations, protect children in schools, and keep the economy open during this “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
While over 175 million Americans are vaccinated and 75% have gotten at least one shot, “the 25% of unvaccinated are causing a lot of damage, and they are,” said the President.
Biden said that even as the delta variant hits the country hard, we have the tools to combat the virus, if our country comes together to use these tools.
The vaccines are safe, effective, and free and have been for over 5 months and at 80,000 locations.
The six-step plan includes:
- Requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly. Biden will also allow these workers to get paid time off to get vaccinated.
- Providing easy access to free booster shots for all eligible Americans as we wait for them to be approved by the FDA and CDC.
- Getting students and school staff tested regularly.
- Make at-home tests more affordable.
- Streamlining the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process.
- Increasing support for COVID-burdened hospitals.
President Biden will sign an executive order requiring all federal workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, with no option of being regularly tested to opt-out of the requirement. As President, Biden has the authority to do this for any federal employee.
Federal workers will have 75 days to get fully vaccinated or will face losing their jobs. “There will be limited exceptions for legally recognized reasons such as disability or religious objections,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing.
The President said he will also sign an executive order directing the same standard be extended to employees of contractors who do business with the federal government.
To combat unruly air passengers over wearing their masks, the administration will double the fines for airline passengers who refuse to mask.
When it comes to schools, according to Dr. Fauci, children have a lower risk of serious symptoms from COVID-19 but are not any less likely than adults to get infected in the first place.
“Well, they don’t have a lower infection rate. What they have is a lower seriousness of infection rate. So, we’re seeing more children in the hospital now because the Delta variant is more readily transmissible among everybody — adults and children,” Fauci told the New York Times.
Today, about 90% of teachers and school staff are vaccinated. With hopes of increasing this percentage and keeping our children safe in schools, Biden will require the 300,000 educators in the federal Head Start Program that are not yet vaccinated to be vaccinated.
Biden will also have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) make a rule requiring employees of companies to be tested. Companies will have to pay for the testing, but they can pass the cost on to employees.
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