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By Alexandra Teerlinck

Senior, GWU

Perhaps the sharpest contrast between the Trump and Biden administrations is the degree to which they took real and concrete steps to abate the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past year, we have desperately needed a leader, and we found one in President Biden. Biden has integrated much-needed humanity and empathy into policy-making through an impressive vaccine rollout and his proposals to stimulate the economy, ultimately helping America’s working class. 

 

President Biden set a goal of 100 million vaccines administered by his 100th day in office. But, as of April 22nd, which is less than 100 days into his term, over 200 million vaccines have been given. While the Trump administration initiated the vaccination process, Biden has worked closely with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson during his tenure to help vaccine manufacturers obtain additional machinery and subcontracting resources. The administration’s dedication to providing rapid and equitable vaccine appointments has also been impressive. Investment and trust in science and public health matter, and Biden’s successes in getting Americans vaccinated proves this to be true. 

 

 Not only has President Biden led an impressive vaccine rollout, but the administration has taken steps to encourage hesitant Americans to get their jab. Scientists are still determining the exact percentage of immunity we need to essentially stop the spread of COVID-19; the World Health Organization estimates that between 50 to 90 percent of the population needs immunity to a virus before cases start to decline. With many Americans still unsure about whether or not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, our chance to achieve herd immunity is already at risk. Remedying vaccine uncertainty matters. To appeal to potentially undecided Americans, Biden has proposed a tax credit for employers who pay for employee time off for vaccination side effects. Encouraging Americans to get vaccinated not only increases the chances of reaching herd immunity, but also invests in companies who act justly. 

 

In March of this year, President Biden signed a 1.9 trillion dollar COVID-19 relief package into law. The bill delivered $1400 stimulus checks to eligible Americans and provided a combined $7.25 billion in federal aid for small businesses. Recent proposals from the White House indicate President Biden’s continuing commitment to economic justice and support for Americans who have struggled financially during the pandemic. President Biden’s recognition of working-class Americans and small businesses illustrates that he not only invests in science and public health, but in the American economy along with the people that keep it running.  

 

President Biden’s next step, proposed early last week, puts working American families as our number one priority. According to NPR, he is set to introduce a new bill increasing federal spending for childcare, education, and paid family leave. Through an increased capital gains tax on millionaires, President Biden has the power to possibly shift the economic dynamics of a country where a pandemic made the rich richer, and the poor poorer. This is a crucial moment for President Biden to implement the policies he promised on the campaign trail.  In his address to the joint session of Congress on April 28th, he highlighted another promising statistic: since his first 100 days in office, 1.3 million new jobs have been created. This is more than any other president’s first 100 days. 

 

President Biden put Americans who were left unemployed by the pandemic back to work in high volume and has done so with an additional emphasis on communities that have disproportionately felt the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Communities of color have been at higher risk of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths for the past year. By investing in communities that have been destabilized during the pandemic, President Biden again shows his humanity and empathy.

In economic and public health initiatives alike, the Biden administration has proven the benefits of leading with a strong hand to shape a government that works for the people. The U.S. economy grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter, and COVID-19 cases are down 27 percent as of May 1st. The Biden administration has taken historic and far-reaching steps to combat the public health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Biden’s pandemic response has been a highlight of his presidency.

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