The big coronavirus news today is activity on the national level — Joe Biden’s executive order to start a national vaccination campaign. Said CNN:

Biden signed executive orders ramping up supplies for vaccination, testing and personal protective equipment and another boosting development of therapeutics to treat Covid-19.


Following through on his campaign proposals, Biden signed two executive orders creating a National Pandemic Testing Board to improve US coronavirus testing capacity and a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force to ensure an “equitable” pandemic response and recovery.
Another executive order he signed enhance the nation’s collection, production, sharing and analysis of data about the virus.

He directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to offer full reimbursement to states for the cost of National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such as PPE for schools.

Biden asked the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance for safe reopening and operating of schools, childcare providers, and institutions of higher education.

He signed an executive order calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release clear guidance on Covid-19, decide whether to establish emergency temporary standards, and directs OSHA to enforce worker health and safety requirements.

Building on the order he signed Wednesday making masks mandatory on federal property, Biden also took action to require facial coverings in airports and on certain modes of transportation, including many trains, planes, maritime vessels and intercity buses. Thursday’s executive order also requires international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to traveling to the US.

The Biden team said it would emphasize data, science and health, not politics.

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Closer to home: Lots of new cases, lots of deaths and not enough vaccine.

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Said the governor:

“The increase in new cases is disappointing & a reminder that we cannot let up in following the public health guidelines. Our vaccines are getting into the arms of Arkansans, but remember, we are totally dependent upon the supply that comes from manufacturers. Right now it is limited.”

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At least the hospitalization number showed another day-to-day drop.

Here is the Health Department’s daily hospital count as of 2 p.m.

Current hospitalizations: 1,160

Total Beds: 8,917

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Total Beds Available: 2,203

Total ICU Beds: 1,174

Total ICU Beds Available: 68

Total Vents: 1,118

Total Vents Available: 694

Total Covid patients in ICU: 370

Total Covid patients on vents: 193