White House Unveils Updated COVID-19 Strategy
The White House, under the direction of the Biden-Harris Administration, this week issued an updated response and recovery strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. announced the strategy during his State of the Union Address to U.S. Congress on Tuesday evening, highlighting a series of actions to continue the nation’s response to the pandemic and return to pre-pandemic routines.
The President’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan identifies four overarching goals and supporting activities:
- Protect against and treat COVID-19 – Supporting activities include launching an effort to vaccinate the country’s youngest children (upon regulatory authorization); ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines; increasing U.S. vaccine manufacturing capacity; launching a Test-to-Treat Initiative to receive a COVID-19 test and, if positive, treatment medications at no cost; helping Americans with long-term impacts of COVID-19; and ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 health care and public health resources, among others.
- Prepare for new variants – Supporting activities include improving data collection, sequencing, and surveillance capabilities; leveraging a COVID-19 Variant Playbook to determine the impact of new variants on existing tests and treatments; leveraging a COVID-19 Surge Response Playbook to deploy mass vaccination and testing sites and expedite deployment of critical supplies and resources to areas experiencing a surge in cases; and adding at-home tests, antiviral pills, and masks to the Strategic National Stockpile, among others.
- Prevent economic and educational shutdowns – Supporting activities include giving schools and businesses guidance, tests, and supplies to stay open; working with Congress to provide paid sick leave to workers who need to miss work due to COVID-19; engaging early care and education providers to ensure safe operation; and expanding levels of services at public-facing federal offices, among others.
- Continue to lead the effort to vaccinate the world and save lives – Supporting activities include leveraging the vaccine donation model established by the U.S. to deliver vaccines; increasing efforts to expand global vaccination efforts; and ensuring availability of oxygen and emergency supplies.
The Biden-Harris Administration notes it will work with the U.S. Congress to secure additional resources and funding to support the continued response to COVID-19. Per the Administration, equity will remain at the center of all COVID-19 actions included in its plan.
The full updated National Preparedness Plan is available here.