Washington, January 20
President Joe Biden on Wednesday will immediately reset the nation’s response to the Covid crisis when he heads to the Oval Office after being sworn in to lead a country reeling from its worst public health crisis in more than a century.
As part of a first sweep of executive actions, Biden will order that all federal employees wear masks and make face coverings mandatory on federal property.
He will establish a new White House office to coordinate the Covid response and halt the withdrawal of the United States from the WHO, a process initiated by former President Donald Trump.
The orders will fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to make Covid relief a top priority and will mark a sharp divergence from the Trump administration’s pandemic response, which critics say was ineffectual, uncoordinated and at least partly responsible for the death of more than 400,000 Americans.
Minutes after Biden took his oath of office at a scaled-back inauguration ceremony unlike any other in US history, he asked onlookers to join him in a silent prayer for the 4,00,000 Americans who perished from Covid. “We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus and must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” Biden said. He delivered his inaugural speech looking out across the National Mall, which was covered in a “field of flags” instead of typical inauguration crowds since citizens were told to stay home to avoid the risk of contagion. — Reuters
Kamala’s outfit draws attention
- Kamala Harris rocked a deep purple outfit designed by African American designers for her historic inauguration.
- It was designed by two Black designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson.
- Joe Biden and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff were both dressed in Ralph Lauren suits.
- Ceremony was marked by performances of Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and several top personalities.