Flanked by vice president Kamala Harris and the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, United States President Joe Biden signed several additional executive orders today "to change the course of this pandemic and get COVID-19 under control."
Front and center among the new executive orders is a mandate for all Americans to wear masks for the next 100 days of Biden's presidency.
As part of an executive action signed today, all US citizens on any form of interstate travel will be required to wear masks.
Notably absent from Biden's remarks: any penalty for breaking the mask mandate. In other words, he's asking Americans to help each other out of a sense of common purpose, rather than a fear of legal consequences.
On top of wearing masks, anybody flying into the United States will now have to be tested for the coronavirus prior to boarding.
The White House has also released an extensive 200-page document outlining his administration's "National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness."
The news comes after it emerged that the Trump administration still hadn't developed a plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
Biden called today's actions a "full-scale war time effort" to reign in a pandemic which, as he pointed out during today's remarks, has already caused more American deaths than World War II.
Biden also reiterated his commitment to science-based decision making. He said that decisions will be made "strictly based on science and health" in order "to restore public trust."
"We will make sure that science and public health experts will speak directly to you," he added.
He also said that we will hear more directly from Fauci himself, a figure actively sidelined by the Trump administration.
The president also warned listeners that the coming months of the pandemic will be dark and difficult.
"It will get worse before it gets better," he said. "It will take many months before we get where we want to be."
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