Biden seeks to use the bully pulpit he has on COVID-19

President-elect Joe Biden is wasting no time in using his bully pulpit to push public health measures, such as mask wearing and physical distancing, that public health experts say will work best to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Biden has promised a much more forceful federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic than President Trump and has announced his own COVID-19 advisory board of health experts in the days since he was projected to win the 2020 election.

As president, Biden said he will rapidly scale up the nation’s testing capacity, invest in contact tracing and use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of protective equipment for front-line workers.

Biden has also promised to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide specific guidance for communities on how they should navigate COVID-19 restrictions, relative to the level of risk and degree of viral spread in a community.

As president-elect, Biden’s power is limited, but it is also not insignificant.

In recent his speeches, Biden has called for unity but has also offered a realistic view of the future of the pandemic.

“We are still facing a dark winter,” he said Monday, adding that “there’s a need for bold action to fight this pandemic.”

For his rhetoric to change behavior, Biden will need to win over GOP governors who support Trump and a divided public that is weary of COVID-19 restrictions.