Joe Biden promises ambitious health plans to fight pandemic

'Masking, vaccinations and opening schools' are some of president-elect Biden's goals for his first 100 days

US president-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday announced details of how he and his health team will approach the raging coronavirus pandemic in the first 100 days of his presidency.

Mr Biden shared a three-part plan, formulated with the help of the country's top infectious diseases doctor, Anthony Fauci, for how his administration will tackle the pandemic that is infecting about 200,000 Americans daily.

"Masking, vaccinations, opening schools,” he said. “These are the three key goals of my first 100 days.”

Mr Biden declared he would issue a federal policy asking Americans to wear face masks.

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"I'm absolutely convinced that in 100 days we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better."

The former vice president will also sign an executive order requiring people to wear them in certain areas such as federal spaces and during interstate travel.

"We need your help. Wear a mask for just 100 days," Mr Biden said. "It's the easiest thing you can do to reduce Covid cases, hospitalisations and death. Help yourself, your family and your community."

The two other steps of his plan involve administering 100 million vaccinations within 100 days and reopening schools.

Mr Biden called on Congress to work together to fund the massive undertaking of immunising millions of Americans.

"My first 100 days won't end the Covid-19 virus. I can't promise that," he said.

"But I'm absolutely convinced that in 100 days, we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better."

The plan was announced alongside the introduction of the health team he has nominated.
Xavier Becerra, California's Attorney General, has been nominated as Mr Biden's secretary of health and human services and would be the first Latino to lead the agency if approved by the US Senate.

Dr Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general during the Obama administration, has been nominated again for the position.

Mr Biden's health team choices have attracted a great deal of interest, as deaths from Covid-19 have climbed to more than 2,000 a day.

Dr Fauci has been appointed the presidential adviser on the coronavirus while continuing to serve as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, chief of the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital, will be the director of the Centres for Disease Control.

Former Obama administration members Jeff Zients and Natalie Quillian will work as co-ordinator and deputy co-ordinator of the Covid-19 response respectively.

Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith, focused on equity in the Covid-19 response, has been working with Mr Biden on his presidential transition.

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