How the Biden administration is tackling the coronavirus pandemic

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Newly sworn-in President Joe Biden and his advisers are already taking steps to end the coronavirus pandemic in America, but experts say much work still needs to be done.

It’s no secret that the current vaccine distribution plan, developed by the Trump administration, has caused chaos throughout the country.

In fact, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has blamed the massive vaccine shortages throughout the nation on the Trump administration’s massive eligibility expansion in just five weeks.

The governor notes that there are not enough vaccines being produced and distributed to keep up with demand, and American citizens are suffering.

In this week’s In Depth Podcast, we spoke with Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Colombia University’s Earth Institute, to get his perspective on the vaccine distribution effort – which he called “an over-promised disaster.”

“The whole system is going to have to be designed from scratch, because whatever we have now it's really not working,” Redlener said.

He says President Biden's team has been working on their plan for months and has already taken a number of steps to combat the virus – including invoking the Defense Production Act and issuing a nationwide mask mandate.

“I think we're gonna be seeing, really, a lot of action right out of the gate,” he said.

While Redlener is optimistic, there are others who think the president’s goals may be too low, that 100 million doses of the vaccine in 100 days is too modest, and that the federal mask mandate should be imposed on states somehow tied to federal funds – at least that’s the view of one recent podcast guest, Dr. Leana Wen.

When asked by a reporter if he set the bar high enough Biden replied, “When I announced it, you all said, ‘It's not possible.’ Come on — give me a break, man. It's a good start, 100 million.”

Still, the Biden administration is hard at work rethinking the Trump administration’s policies.

“The new CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is doing end-to-end evaluation or every single guidance,” Redlener said. “(The Biden administration is) gonna take care of everything from really expanding testing, new treatment opportunities, more support for the states.”

He says President Trump's team dropped the ball.

“There was no master plan in place, even though we were led to believe that there was,” Redlener said.

In comparison to the Trump administration, the Biden administration will also be giving Dr. Tony Fauci, the top’s top infectious disease specialist, more freedom to speak more honestly on the virus.

Listen to the full conversation with Dr. Irwin Redlener on this week's 880 In Depth Podcast, get it wherever you get your podcasts.

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