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

Jul 11, 2020 - World

India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar

Medical workers processing coronavirus tests on July 11 in Ahmedabad. Photo: Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images

India is set to reinstate mandatory lockdowns for cities as medical facilities across the country are strained due to a recent surge in new coronavirus infections, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Roughly four months ago, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, hoping to avoid the large-scale crisis it's now experiencing.

Jul 11, 2020 - Health

We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

By any standard, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. is losing its war against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The pandemic is not an abstraction, and it is not something that’s simmering in the background. It is an ongoing emergency ravaging nearly the entire country, with a loss of life equivalent to a Sept. 11 every three days — for four months and counting.

21 hours ago - Health

Louisiana governor issues face mask mandate

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in April at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) issued an executive order on Saturday requiring all people ages 8 and older to wear face coverings in public to curb the spread of the coronavirus, according to The Advocate.

Why it matters: Louisiana is now the 25th state to issue some form of a mask mandate as case counts surge across the U.S.