US President-elect Joe Biden announces members of his health team in Wilmington, Delaware. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on January 20, 2021, pledged that his administration would carry out at least 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.
He also warned on Tuesday that coronavirus vaccination efforts in the United States will "slow and stall" if Congress does not urgently come up with funding.
"There's a real chance that after an early round of vaccinations the effort will slow and stall," he told reporters. "We need Congress to finish the bipartisan work underway now or millions of Americans may wait months longer to get the vaccine."
Biden, who formally introduced his public health team on Tuesday, also announced he would nominate retired Army General Lloyd Austin as the country’s first Black defense secretary.
He also picked US Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio to lead the Housing and Urban Development Department, and Tom Vilsack, the former agriculture secretary, to fill the same role again, according to news reports on Tuesday.
At a briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said he needed Congress to fully fund delivering vaccines to all corners of the United States. Getting children back to school will be a national priority in the first 100 days, Biden said.
“In 100 days, we can change the course of the disease and change life in America for the better,” said Biden, who takes office on Jan.20. “Whatever your politics or point of view, mask up for 100 days.”
Biden’s first few months will likely be dominated by the pandemic, which is straining hospitals amid a nationwide resurgence.
The coronavirus has killed more than 283,000 Americans and caused millions to lose their jobs.
Effective vaccines would help the Biden administration turn its focus to healing the ailing US economy. The US Food and Drug Administration released documents on Tuesday raising no new issues about the safety or efficacy of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, which could receive emergency authorization this month.
Biden introduced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Latino former congressman, as his nominee for secretary of health and human services. Becerra has a long record of supporting the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
He urged Americans to remain vigilant against the virus, hours after signing a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law and raised the possibility of beginning to "mark our independence from this virus” by the Fourth of July.
The final bill includes $400 billion in one-time payments of $1,400 to most Americans, $300 a week in extended jobless benefits for the 9.5 million people thrown out of work in the crisis.
The White House said Biden will deliver remarks at sunset to honor those who lost their lives. He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will participate in the moment of silence and lighting ceremony.
Democrats who control the chamber passed the sweeping measure by a mostly party-line vote of 219 to 212 and sent it on to the Senate, where Democrats planned a legislative maneuver to allow them to pass it without the support of Republicans.
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The study highlighted the fact that poor air quality can lead to a decreased immune response, impact lung function, and further enable the spread of viruses.