President Biden unveiled a multi-pronged strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic using new requirements and actions on Thursday. According to the White House, the newly-announced steps include:
1. Biden has directed the Labor Department to require companies with 100+ employees to require proof of vaccination or weekly negative test results. The federal government is also establishing a rule requiring those companies to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated or recover from vaccination.
2. The Biden administration will move forward with approving booster shots for Americans as soon as September 20.
3. Any schools associated with federal funding, like Head Start programs or Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools, will require vaccines for staff. Biden also called on more states to implement vaccine mandates for school employees.
4. Biden has moved to double fines for anyone who doesn't comply with TSA mask requirements. Additionally, the government will send fresh stockpiles of COVID-19 tests to communities in need.
5. The federal government will expand its funding for Small Business Administration loans, and increase regulation of the loans "to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to support businesses that truly need help." The SBA will also expand its Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness program.
6. Biden pledged to double the number of Department of Defense health care workers deployed around the country to aid in areas with coronavirus surges. He also announced a plan to increase shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments by 50 percent by the end of the month.
Though Biden's plan quickly sparked criticism among conservatives and pundits who argued its frustrated tone and broad approach would further dissuade vaccine skeptics, Biden asserted the approach is the best way to aggressively fight the virus' spread at a "critical moment." Read more details about the plan via the White House.