Transition officials expressed dismay at the state of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a press briefing on Thursday ahead of the release of President-elect Biden’s coronavirus relief plan, vowing a 180-degree turn on vaccinations and testing once he takes office.
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JANUARY 08: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks before announcing … [+]
The relief package Biden is set to propose on Thursday is expected to include $1,400 checks to families, $400-a-week unemployment insurance, $130 billion to fund reopening of schools and a push for a $15 minimum wage.
The Biden team emphasized they are building off an inadequate response by the Trump administration, with a senior Biden administration official stating, “what we are inheriting from the Trump administration is much worse than we could’ve imagined.”
Officials lamented “no existing infrastructure” for vaccinations and “no plan to get needles in arms,” as well as inadequate testing, forcing them to build out a health infrastructure from scratch.
That infrastructure is set to include a $20 billion national vaccination program with community vaccination sites across the country, $50 billion to expand testing, $30 billion to increase the production of PPE, increased investment in treatments and paid sick leave to reduce transmission among workers.
“More than 10 months later, they still don’t have the basics down,” the official said of the Trump administration’s Covid efforts.
Forbes has reached out to the White House for comment.
$1.9 trillion. That’s the estimated cost of Biden’s coronavirus relief package.
In an effort to boost underwhelming vaccination figures, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to announce major changes to its vaccine rollout plan that reflect much of what Biden’s team has proposed, according to CNN.
4,327. That’s how many coronavirus deaths there were in the U.S. on Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal – an all-time, one-day high.
The official said there continues to be “uneven” cooperation on the transition from Trump administration officials even after Trump conceded the election. Biden aides had previously pointed to the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget as two sources of particular obstruction from political appointees.
What To Watch For
Despite the obstacles they say the Trump administration has presented, Biden officials said they are “confident” about meeting the president-elect’s goal of 100 million coronavirus vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office.