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Biden Day Two – Additional EOs to Advance Administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness

January 21, 2021

Following remarks announcing his administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, President Biden signed an additional 10 Executive Orders (EOs) to operationalize the new administration’s federal response to the pandemic and “[provide] a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century.” The following is a brief summary and link to each EO signed today:

  1. Executive Order – Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
    Requires masks on public transportation, including trains, buses and aircraft. International travelers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test before entering the U.S. and will have to quarantine upon arrival.
  2. Executive Order - Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain
    Directs agencies to use all available legal authorities, including the Defense Production Act, to fill shortfalls in supplies needed to combat the pandemic. The United States has identified 12 immediate supply shortfalls that will be critical to the pandemic response, including, among others, shortages in the dead-space needle syringes available to administer the vaccine.
  3. Executive Order - Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery
    Establishes a high-level task force to address COVID-19 related health and social inequities and help coordinate an equitable pandemic response and recovery. The Task Force will convene national experts on health equity and provide recommendations on how to mitigate COVID -19 health inequities.
  4. Executive Order - Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19
    Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to: develop studies to identify optimal clinical management strategies and support promising COVID-19 treatments, develop a plan to support research of response in rural hospitals and the general long-term impact of the virus on patient health, and consider future action to ensure representation of underrepresented populations in clinical trials. It likewise directs the Department of Defense (DOD), HHS, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide targeted surge assistance to critical care and long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with disabilities, and residential treatment centers while also establishing targets for the production, allocation, and distribution of COVID-19 treatments.
  5. Executive Order - Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats 
    Directs federal agencies to facilitate the gathering, sharing, and publication of COVID-19-related data, in coordination with the Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response, to further public understanding of the pandemic and the response, and to deter the spread of misinformation and disinformation.
  6. Executive Order – Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers
    Directs a national strategy for safely reopening schools, including requiring the Department of Education and HHS to provide guidance on safe reopening and operating, and to develop a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse to share lessons learned and best practices from across the country.
  7. Executive Order - Protecting Worker Health and Safety
    Directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue updated guidance on COVID-19 worker protections. It also directs OSHA and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to consider whether emergency temporary standards, including with respect to mask-wearing, are necessary, or other short-, medium-, and long-term changes are necessary to better protect workers. The EO further directs OSHA to focus COVID-19 enforcement efforts on violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk.
  8. Executive Order - Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats
    Establishes the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board to oversee implementation of a clear, unified approach to testing by establishing a national COVID-19 testing and public health workforce strategy; working to expand the supply of tests; working to bring test manufacturing to the United States, where possible; working to enhance laboratory testing capacity; working to expand the public health workforce; supporting screening testing for schools and priority populations; and ensuring a clarity of messaging about the use of tests and insurance coverage.
  9. Memorandum to Extend Federal Support to Governors' Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States
    Accelerate the rollout of vaccines by providing more funding to local and state officials, Tribal and territorial governments, and creating more vaccination sites and launching a national public education campaign. The memorandum authorizes the Secretary of Defense to request all State and territorial governors to order National Guard forces to perform duties to fulfill mission assignments on a fully reimbursable basis. Further, the memorandum directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund 100 percent of the cost of activities associated with all mission assignments for the use of the National Guard to respond to COVID-19.
  10. National Security Directive - United States Global Leadership to Strengthen the International COVID-19 Response and to Advance Global Health Security and Biological Preparedness
    Re-establishes an Obama era directive to restore American leadership internationally in global health security and biopreparedness by seeking to strengthen and reform the World Health Organization (WHO) particularly in COVID-19 response related to vaccination, research, and development and by reviewing funding allocations for global health security and biodefense initiatives.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

James G. Flood
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2716
Tim Shadyac
Director, Government Affairs – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2958
Byron R. Brown
Senior Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2546
W. Scott Douglas
Senior Policy Director – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.508.8944
Stacie Heller
Senior Policy Director – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2844
Thomas P. Gies
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2690