WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden announced a new six-point plan on Thursday to deal with the surge in delta mutant coronavirus cases and deaths in recent weeks, including comprehensive mandatory vaccination and other measures.
Biden ordered 2.5 million federal workers and contractors, workers in most hospitals and healthcare facilities, and any employees of companies with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as part of a new effort to control infectious diseases.
Employees of large private companies can choose to have weekly virus tests instead of vaccination, but the new order cancels this option for federal workers.
Some companies have required employees to be vaccinated or lose their jobs.
“If you want to cooperate with the federal government or do business with us, get vaccinated,” Biden said in a speech on Thursday night, emphasizing that he wants to protect vaccinated American workers from colleagues who may not be vaccinated. harm.
Biden also announced that the Department of Labor will require relevant companies to provide paid time off for their employees to vaccinate.
It is unclear whether Biden’s order for federal workers and contractors allows exceptions for those seeking religious or medical exemptions for vaccinations.
The President also elaborated on persuading unvaccinated Americans to vaccinate, protect those who have been vaccinated through enhanced injections in the coming weeks, keep schools open, increase testing and in some cases require masks, promote economic recovery and promote economic recovery. New efforts to improve the care of those infected. Infected with the disease COVID-19 caused by the virus.
As the world’s largest economy, the U.S. economy has grown substantially since the worst pandemic that began 18 months ago, but the number of new jobs in the country slowed significantly in August, and Biden blamed it on the new The number of coronavirus cases has surged.
The President announced to provide more support to small businesses by allowing more small businesses to obtain low-cost loans. He also said that the Small Business Administration is simplifying loan relief procedures and launching a program to help people in underserved areas better connect with federal, state and local resources.
The latest surge in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States has mainly occurred in unvaccinated people, although there have been some breakthrough infections in people who were vaccinated a few months ago.
“This is an unvaccinated epidemic,” Biden said on Thursday, noting that about a quarter of Americans are still unvaccinated.
“That 25% would cause a lot of damage, and it is true,” Biden added, referring to the overcrowding of hospitals and intensive care units across the country.
The latest surge has pushed hospitals and medical staff across the United States to a tipping point, with some intensive care units full of COVID-19 patients.
More than 177 million of the country’s 332 million people have been vaccinated, but the federal health regulatory agency has not approved vaccination for children under 12 years of age.
More than 62% of the population 12 years and older are vaccinated, but approximately 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded every day in recent weeks, and approximately 1,000 people die every day.
For various reasons, such as believing that they will not be infected with the virus or believing that no one should be able to ask them to be vaccinated, millions of Americans are still not vaccinated.
Some governors, mainly conservative Republicans, urge their residents to get vaccinated, but are unwilling to make vaccinations mandatory or require masks to be worn in schools or other workplaces. This has led to many political and legal disputes, and some courts are on the side of local officials, hoping to implement coronavirus regulations in their states that the governor opposes.
The surge in unvaccinated Americans includes a growing number of young children who are not eligible to be vaccinated.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said that from August 5th to September 2nd, the number of child cases surged to 750,000.
In addition to vaccines, Biden also reiterated the necessity of mandatory use of masks nationwide.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which oversees the safety of U.S. flights and airports, will double fines for those who refuse to wear masks on airlines.
Patsy Widakuswara of VOA contributed to this report. Some of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press.