ScotSkim: Inauguration, Biden’s first acts, and the hospital system
January 26, 2021
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. swore the oath of office on Jan. 20, becoming the 46th President of the United States. Kamala Devi Harris swore the oath minutes earlier, becoming the first woman, first Black American, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the office of the Vice President of the United States.
In his inaugural address, Biden delivered a message of unity as he called people to put aside their differences and work together to deal with the pandemic, racism, and the economy.
This inauguration also differed from past inaugurations as 25,000 National Guard troops were positioned throughout Washington due to fear of further violence akin to the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Additionally, those in attendance were limited amidst Covid-19 concerns.
A pleasant surprise to the inauguration was the performance of Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Black woman and the youngest inaugural poet in American history. Singers Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks also performed at the Capitol ceremony.
Biden’s first actions as president
In his first 24 hours as President of the United States, Joe Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders. Most of the orders that he signed were either related to many of the current problems facing the U.S. or were orders reversing the decisions made by former President Donald Trump.
Biden started his administration’s response to Covid-19 by starting a “100 Days Masking Challenge” that called for face masks and social distancing throughout the federal government. He also intends to change the government’s organizational structure regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and also intends to rejoin the World Health Organization.
For financial relief, Biden is looking to extend millions of mortgages and has paused student loan payments until Sept. 30.
Additionally, he ended the Muslim travel ban, stopped border wall construction, and changed Trump’s arrest priorities regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE).
As Covid-19 cases surge, hospitals feel the pressure
Recently the U.S. experienced the largest surge of this pandemic, which has led to increased hospitalizations due to Covid-19.
Large surges of hospitalized Covid-19 patients can cause the entire healthcare system to be overwhelmed and forced to expend all their resources to just addressing those with the coronavirus. This means that people with any type of medical emergency may have to wait hours in areas that are severely affected.
This surge of cases also affects the ambulance system since there is no longer the assurance that an ambulance team will be able to quickly transfer their patient from the ambulance to a hospital bed. The longer a team of paramedics is stuck transferring its patient to a hospital bed, is less time that the ambulance is available to answer other emergencies.
In other areas, hospitals are running out of beds forcing ambulances to travel to hospitals that are hours away. This has gotten so bad in some areas that some emergency medical service teams are no longer supposed to bring people who suffer a heart attack and aren’t stabilized within 20 minutes to the hospital.