President Biden has announced a sweeping new six-part plan to combat rising COVID-19 cases nationwide — including vaccine requirements for federal workers, private sector employees and health care workers that could affect more than 100 million Americans.
Biden said he is ordering all federal employees, including federal contractors, to get vaccinated, with no option for regular testing in lieu of vaccination.
Additionally, the president will require private sector employers with 100 or more workers to have fully vaccinated staffs or test unvaccinated employees weekly.
“The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers,” Biden said Thursday during a White House speech to announce his plan.
As of Friday, only about 53% of the U.S. population — or roughly 177 million people — have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus despite the widespread availability of vaccines, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After an initial flurry once the vaccines were rolled out at the beginning of the year, vaccination rates tailed off significantly.
Subsequently, the number of coronavirus cases has risen steadily during the past two months after leveling off somewhat over the summer — largely due to plateauing vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
The U.S. currently has recorded approximately 41 million cases and 656,000 related deaths, both tops globally, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.