Biden’s First Month of Covid-19 Response Marked by Larger Federal Role

Biden’s First Month of Covid-19 Response Marked by Larger Federal Role

WASHINGTON—In his first month in office, President Biden has positioned the federal government squarely at the front of the battle against Covid-19, tapping the military to staff mass-vaccination centers, joining with state and local officials to accelerate the pace of vaccinations, and requiring masks on buses, planes and federal property.

“We’re doing everything we can within the power of the presidency to make sure that people are taking the right public-health measures,” said Natalie Quillian, the White House’s deputy coordinator of the Covid-19 response.

Mr. Biden has also called for Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which would provide $130 billion of additional funding to schools, stimulus checks of $1,400 to most households and $50 billion to expand testing.

But Mr. Biden’s efforts to use his bully pulpit to pressure states to take actions the federal government doesn’t control—such as keeping mask mandates in place—have had mixed results, and many school districts across the country are still grappling with how and when to return to in-person instruction.

Governors and state public health officials said that under the Biden administration they have more regular communication with, and access to, senior officials in the White House than they did before. The Trump administration deferred many decisions on how to fight Covid-19 to states.

Source: WSJ – US News

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