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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Biden speaks at Delaware State University on June 5. Photo: JIm Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden released a plan on Thursday for how he believes the federal government should set the foundation for reopening the country and jump-starting the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: In contrast to the White House guide to reopening released in April, Biden's plan does not need to address thornier questions of what businesses should reopen and when states should leave lockdowns, since all states have already fully or partially reopened.

Yes, but: Biden's plan outlines more details than the official White House guidance on reopening, which left granular decisions to state governors.

  • Biden published a statement in late April calling for increased testing and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) production as the country reopens, saying: "If we don’t beat the virus, we will never get back to full economic strength."

Biden's new plan calls for the government to:

  • Publish searchable, real-time data on where the virus has spread that narrows new infections down to zip codes. Nationwide data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updated daily and and gives state-level overviews.
  • Ensure all workers have appropriate PPE based on their potenital exposure. Some health care workers continued to report shortages as recently as last month.
  • Incentivize stores to follow testing procedures with federal funding and a "Safer for Shoppers" sign.
  • Increase funding for coronavirus pediatric research done through the National Institutes of Health.
  • Recruit contract tracers through a "Public Health Jobs Corps" that aims to hire at least 100,000 people. Contract tracing is currently organized by state, and as of last month, 44 states and Washington, D.C. planned to hire over 66,000 people, per NPR.
  • Enforce social distancing, testing, and other mitigation efforts at work through OSHA.

What he's saying: "Americans deserve a President who will ensure that re-opening is as effective and safe as possible — putting people back on the payroll as quickly as possible and restoring economic demand as fully as possible. Trump has abdicated any effective federal leadership, leaving state, tribal, and local officials to do their best without help from Washington," Biden said in his proposal.

Go deeper: Read the full plan

Go deeper

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Updated Oct 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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