Live Updates: Joe Biden Announces Sweeping New Measures to Fight COVID in U.S.

Live Updates

President Joe Biden unveiled a six-step approach to combat the surge of COVID-19, specifically the highly contagious Delta variant, in the U.S. during public remarks Thursday.

His plan included sweeping vaccine requirements in the health care, education and federal sectors, applying to about 100 million workers. Executive branch employees and federal government contractors are among those who will be required to get vaccinated, as well as all hospital workers, home health care facility workers and employees of other medical facilities.

Nearly 300,000 educators in the federal Head Start program will be required to get vaccinated to further protect children in schools from the virus, Biden said. He also called on "all governments" the require the vaccine for teachers.

"We need more to step up. Vaccination requirements in schools are nothing new. They work," he said.

The Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, Biden said, with an alternative for employees to present a negative COVID test weekly. The Labor Department is also planning to remove an obstacle to vaccination by requiring employers with 100 or more employees to give workers paid time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"This is not about freedom, or personal choice, it's about protecting yourself and those around you," he said.

The president issued a plea to large entertainment venues like sports stadiums, concert venues and movie theaters to require proof of vaccination or a negative test. He also called for the country's doctors and physicians to convince hesitant Americans to get the shot.

"You are the most trusted medical voice for your patients. You may be the one person who can get someone to change their mind about being vaccinated," he said.

Other parts of his plan included boosting relief loans for small businesses affected by the pandemic, improving care for those infection with COVID, doubling fines from the Transportation Safety Administration for travelers who refuse to wear masks, increasing testing access and restoring pay to educators and school officials whose paychecks are withheld by state governments that ban certain COVID protection measures.

The live updates for this event have ended.

Biden Outlines COVID Plan
As the Delta variant continues to spread around the United States, President Joe Biden outlined his administration's six point plan, including a requirement that all federal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Biden speaks about combatting the coronavirus pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on September 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Defense Department Will Double Military Health Teams Deployed to Hospitals

The Defense Department will double the number of military health teams deployed to aid COVID-19-infected Americans at U.S. hospitals, President Joe Biden announced Thursday. The move comes after what Biden called "surge response teams" were deployed in July to U.S. areas that needed additional help fighting the virus.

The administration will also increase the availability of monoclonal antibody treatments, which Biden said were shown to "reduce the risk of hospitalization up to 70 percent for unvaccinated people at risk of developing severe disease."

While 1.4 million "courses" of these treatments were already distributed, the U.S. will increase the "average pace of shipment across the country" of free treatments by another 50 percent, Biden said.

U.S. to Expand COVID Relief Programs for Businesses Affected by Pandemic

The U.S. will expand the COVID-19 economic injury disaster loan programs to aid in the economic recovery from the pandemic, President Joe Biden said.

The program will allow small businesses to borrow up to $2 million to keep going if "COVID impacts on their sales." The loans won't have to be begin to be repaid for two years, and business can use them to hire and keep employees, buy inventory and pay off debt from the pandemic, Biden said.

After Announcing Sweeping Vaccine Requirements, Biden Issues Plea for More Employers, Facilities to Require Shot

Upon announcing that around 100 million Americans from certain sectors would be required to get vaccinated, President Joe Biden issued a plea to large entertainment venues like sports stadiums, concert venues and movie theaters to require proof of vaccination or a negative test.

The president also called for the country's doctors and physicians to convince hesitant Americans to get the shot.

"You are the most trusted medical voice for your patients. You may be the one person who can get someone to change their mind about being vaccinated. Tonight, I'm asking each of you to reach out to your unvaccinated patients over the next two weeks, and make a personal appeal to them to get the shot," he said.

Biden Expanding Health Care Vaccine Requirements to Additional 17 Million Workers

After initially issuing a requirement that all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid get vaccinated, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he would be expanding vaccine requirements in the health care field to all hospital workers, home health care facility workers and employees of other medical facilities.

This totals 17 million healthcare workers who will be required to get the shot, Biden said.

'If you're seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated," he said.

TSA to Double Fines for Travelers Who Refuse to Wear Masks, Biden Says

President Joe Biden announced that to support masking requirements and curtail mask resistance, the Transportation Safety Administration would double fines imposed on travelers who refuse to wear masks.

The president told Americans that if they break the rules, they should "be prepared to pay."

Retailers Will Begin to Offer At-Home Rapid COVID Tests, Biden Says

In an effort to up testing as part of his six-step plan to battle COVID-19, production of rapid tests was booster and top retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Kroger will begin to offer at-home tests, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.

This will occur no later than next week, he said.

The U.S. will also expand free testing for the virus at 10,000 pharmacies nationwide, in addition to allotting $2 billion to purchase more rapid tests to be distributed to community health centers, food banks and schools

"This is important to everyone, particularly for a parent with a child not old enough to be vaccinated," Biden said.

Nearly 300,000 Educators Will Be Required to Get Vaccinted, Biden Says

Nearly 300,000 educators in the federal Head Start program will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, President Joe Biden said.

The action is meant to further protect children in schools from the virus as some teachers and staff still refuse to get vaccinated, he said. He also called on "all governments" the require the vaccine for teachers.

"We need more to step up. Vaccination requirements in schools are nothing new. They work," he said.

Federal Government Will Restore Pay to Educators, Officials Who Defy State Bans on COVID-19 Protection Measures

The federal government will restore pay to educators and school officials whose pay is withheld by the state for defying bans against COVID-19 protection measures, President Joe Biden said Thursday.

"Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them, and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools," Biden said, likely referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has threatened, and sometimes followed through on threats, to withhold pay from some school districts defying his orders.

He made a promise to all educators who lost pay or are in danger of losing pay to "have your back."

U.S. Ready to Administer Booster Shots Upon CDC, FDA Approval

The U.S. is ready to administer booster shots to Americans eligible for the shot as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration give the final approval, President Joe Biden said.

He said that he understands the "anger" and "anxiety" among those who have gotten vaccinated as many refuse to get the shot, and cited the booster shot as an additional shield against the virus.

Department of Labor to Require Employers to Give Workers Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated

The Department of Labor will require employers with 100 or more employees to give workers paid time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine, President Joe Biden announced Thursday.

This would remove one of the last obstacles to more Americans getting vaccinated, he said.

Department of Labor to Require All Employers With 100 or More Employees to Mandate COVID Vaccines

President Joe Biden announced during his speech Thursday that the Department of Labor is developing emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccines.

The alternative for those employees is to present a negative COVID test weekly, Biden said.

"This is not about freedom, or personal choice, it's about protecting yourself and those around you," he said.

More Than 175 Million Americans Now Fully Vaccinated, Biden Says

President Joe Biden said during his Thursday remarks that more than 175 million Americans are now vaccinated against COVID-19, compared to the two million who were fully vaccinated when he took office.

He reiterated previous statements that America is facing a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," and acknowledged that many people in the U.S. are "frustrated" with the nearly 80 million who have not yet been vaccinated.