By Victor Reklaitis
President Joe Biden on Thursday rolled out his administration’s approach to tackling the COVID-19 crisis, as he signed a second round of executive orders and other directives aimed at the pandemic.
“For the past year, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and coordination we needed, and we have seen the tragic cost of that failure,” Biden said.
“We’re in a national emergency, and it’s time we treated it like one —together, with a national plan, as the United States of America,” he added.
During his remarks, the new president called for people to go to the White House’s website and read his administration’s plan for addressing the crisis through executive actions and other measures.
Biden’s moves come a day after he took former President Donald Trump’s place in the White House and kicked off an overhaul of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The White House had said early Thursday that Biden would sign 10 executive orders and other directives to combat the pandemic, with those executive actions following a first round that came on Wednesday.
Thursday’s orders included one that’s intended to expand COVID testing, another that would lead to new guidance on safely reopening schools, and one that requires face masks at airports and other modes of transportation along with tests for international travelers before they depart for the U.S.
There also was a directive to mount a vaccination campaign amid goals such as 100 million shots in 100 days and 100 federal vaccination centers in a month , and a memorandum on increasing federal reimbursements to states for personal protective equipment and the National Guard.
Following his remarks, Biden was asked by a reporter if his goal of 100 million vaccine shots in 100 days was too low of a goal.
“When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. C’mon, gimme a break, man,” the president responded.
U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.29% recently were slightly higher on Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.07% closed at a record and logged its best-ever rally from an Election Day to an Inauguration Day .