President Joe Biden told the public Thursday that the nation must summon a ‘full scale war-time effort’ to beat back the coronavirus, as he signed new executive orders to speed vaccine delivery and called wearing a mask a patriotic duty.
Speaking at the White House on his first full day as president, Biden pointed to the 400,000 deaths from COVID-19 so far – more than all of the military forces who died in all of World War I
“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, by his side.
When asked by a reporter whether the 100 million-shot goal was sufficient, Biden replied: ‘When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, gimme a break man!’
Biden brandished a mask and repeated his call for Americans to wear them.
‘I’m asking every American to mask up for the next 100 days,’ he said.
‘It’s a patriotic act,’ he said, lamenting that mask use had become politicized.
‘They’re more important than the vaccine,’ which takes time to work, he said.
He also promised a devotion to science and experts.
‘You’re going to hear a lot more from Dr. Fauci again – not from the president, but from the real genuine experts and scientists,’ he said.
The White House also released a 200-page plan outlining its effort.
The series of executive orders and actions are intended to dramatically expand vaccine production and distribution – to push forward his goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.