There’s lots of good coverage of President Biden’s plans to ramp up the federal response to the pandemic, such as the Vox article and also this extensive report from Talking Points Memo.


Today, Biden is expected to sign executive orders on the response, including invoking the Defense Production Act to compel the production of critical supplies.

The Trump administration encouraged vaccine development but left the distribution to the states. That has produced a mishmash of conflicting state rules and, in part due to lack of supply, many frustrated vaccine seekers. The Biden administration intends to push to equalize eligibility (open to all 65 and older, for example), establish vaccine centers, and deploy mobile vaccine delivery units. Also, TPM writes:


Tying it all together is a focus on the Defense Production Act, a 1950s-era law that empowers the federal government to compel the production of items needed to address a national emergency.

The Trump administration inexplicably failed to use this tool on a mass scale, leaving vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer without access to key raw materials as PPE shortages continue months into the pandemic.

“Where we can produce more, we will,” said Tim Manning, COVID-19 supply coordinator.

Manning said that the effort would focus on creating more N95 and “high-quality surgical masks,” as well as isolation gowns, testing materials, and vaccine production elements.

He added that the government would take an inventory “of what we have on hand, what’s needed across America to respond to the pandemic, and what we need to do to fill those gaps.”

Manning went on to say that the effort would expand production to meet the higher needs imposed by the pandemic, but would ideally “sustain the U.S. production of these items so we’re more prepared for future pandemics.”

As Vox notes, these are obvious ideas.