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Biden unveils COVID-19 plan, signs 10 executive orders to help battle virus

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 20:09:07-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — President Joe Biden kicked off his first full day in office by tackling the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With Dr. Anthony Fauci by his side, Biden signed 10 executive orders.

"I'm signing an executive action to use the Defense Production Act and all other available authorities to direct all federal agencies and private entities to accelerate the making of everything that's needed to protect, test, vaccinate, and take care of our people," Biden said.

Those orders build on other actions he took Wednesday. They include requiring masks on federal property and interstate travel on planes, trains and buses.

The Biden administration seeks to accelerate the roll-out of vaccines by providing more funding to local and state officials, improve data collection and conduct expert-led briefings.

"Our national strategy is comprehensive. It's based on science, not politics. It's based on truth, not denial and it's detailed," Biden said.

University of Nebraska Medical Center Dr. James Lawler says re-joining the World Health Organization was also a step in the right direction.

"This pandemic should hopefully show us that we live in a very interconnected, global society and a health threat anywhere in the world can be a health threat for all of us, "Lawler said.

Lawler emphasizes the importance of masks and social distancing — pointing to Biden's "100 day" federal mask mandate.

"100 days is a good start. I think it's going to be a much longer slog than that," Lawler said.

Biden acknowledged that things will get worse before they get better. He added the death toll will likely top 500,000 next month.