In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant and boost the U.S.’s vaccination numbers, Joe Biden is set to enforce new federal vaccination requirements that could impact at least 100 million Americans.
The Associated Press reports that the new guidelines require people who work for employers with at least 100 workers to be vaccinated, or get tested for the virus every week. Those who work at health facilities that get Medicare or Medicaid also have to be completely vaccinated.
Additionally, a new executive order will mandate that people working for the executive branch and contractors who work with the federal government will have to be vaccinated and cannot be regularly tested instead.
While speaking Thursday, Biden touted the progress made on COVID since he took office.
He also accused “elected officials” of undermining his administration’s fight against the virus.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s “overarching objective here is to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans,” with around 80 million adult Americans still unvaccinated.
The new “action plan” also includes further requirements, like doubling federal fines for airline passengers who decline to wear masks during flights, or those who refuse to cover their faces on federal property. Biden is also working to expand the supply of virus tests, boost federal support to schools as they are opening, and require large entertainment venues and arenas to check vaccination cards or proof of negative test upon entry.
While there are over 208 million Americans who have been vaccinated with at least one dose, the number of cases has surged by 300 percent a day. There are also now two-and-a-half times more hospitalizations and almost twice as many deaths as this time last year.