Following the transition of power of the presidency to Joe Biden, much has already begun to change from the previous administration, including developing a COVID-19 plan.
After the Jan. 20 inauguration, Biden got right to work, issuing 17 executive measures on his first day as president. According to CNN, several of these actions address the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Biden reversed some policies former President Donald Trump implemented during his time, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and repairing ties with the World Health Organization.
"There's no time to start like today," Biden told reporters in the Oval Office. "I'm going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people."
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden is entering office during an unprecedented time with a plan of action which his National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness document plans to address. Political science professor Kristy Pathakis said Biden is focusing on the pandemic during his first days so he can begin to work on keeping Americans healthy. Biden’s focus includes a 100-day mask challenge, encouraging all Americans to wear masks to cut down on the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as a vaccine plan.
“They seem to have a plan, which is good. They seem to be really open to talking about COVID[-19] and calling it a crisis, to talking about how serious it is, and I think that is important,” Pathakis said. “They have all said that the plan is to be really transparent, so I think that is important because we have huge divisions over whether or not we should be wearing masks, whether or not we should be crowding into bars, whether they should be open.”
Communication and political science professor Kirby Goidel said one main difference between Trump and Biden is the way they view the COVID-19 pandemic, with Biden looking at the pandemic as a health crisis first and an economic crisis second.
“His main thing coming in with the crisis going on, the single most important thing he can do is to try to deal with the public health crisis,” Goidel said. “Then the secondary thing he has to do is deal with the economic crisis.”
With the recent riot at the Capitol, Biden has stepped into office ready to deal with all of the challenges thrown at him regarding COVID-19 and election legitimacy, Goidel said.
“I think he wanted to show that he was getting to work right away, and he recognizes that we are in a crisis situation and he has to begin dealing with that immediately,” Goidel said. “Given some of the questions about the legitimacy of the election that were raised right before the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol and other things, he wants to show that he is going to be the president. He wanted to signal that he would work.”
Click here for a complete list of the executive actions that President Biden has signed.