Biden issuing executive orders to overhaul pandemic response: Mask mandate, WHO reentry, and more

President-elect Joe Biden will sign executive orders aimed at combating the coronavirus pandemic after taking the oath of office on Wednesday.

Once sworn in, Biden will sign 15 executive orders that take aim at ending the coronavirus pandemic and repairing the damage to the economy. To start, he will launch his “100 Days Masking Challenge,” to mandate mask-wearing on federal properties at all times.

Biden will also overhaul the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the vaccine development initiative Operation Warp Speed in an effort to further his goal of inoculating 100 million people within his first 100 days in office.

He will also restore the global health unit within the National Security Council disbanded under President Trump that will oversee the pandemic response and preparedness for future outbreaks. The Obama-era Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense was first formed in response to the Ebola epidemic of 2014. The incoming Biden administration has argued that the committee’s dissolution hobbled the national pandemic preparedness. Biden has appointed Jeff Zients, his transition’s chief coronavirus adviser, to coordinate the pandemic response.

Biden will also try to mend ties with the World Health Organization, the global public health body from which Trump sought to withdraw the United States in retaliation for its conciliatory approach to China, where the pandemic originated. Biden is dispatching Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, to speak at the group’s board meeting on Thursday.