Washington — President Joe Biden laid out his to plan to combat theon his first full day in office, warning Americans that the worst is still to come.
“Let me be clear,” Mr. Biden said during the event at the White House. “Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.”
The president signed 10 executive orders to vastly expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses by the end of April. He invoked the Defense Production Act to compel federal agencies and manufacturers to increase key supplies needed to fight the virus, and implemented new travel restrictions meant to curb its spread.
White House officials acknowledge, however, that much of their plan will be impossible if Congress doesn’t pass the administration’s nearly $2 trillion coronavirus proposal, and have appealed to the American people to wear masks and socially distance.
While the Trump administration laid the groundwork for development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through Operation Warp Speed, Mr. Biden said “the brutal truth is it’s going to take months” before the majority of Americans are vaccinated.
“This is a wartime undertaking,” Mr. Biden said, noting the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19, more than 408,000, is more than those who died during all of World War II.
Contributing: Arden Farhi and The Associated Press