New federal anti-COVID guidelines coming as Biden mandates vaccine for government workers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the delta variant continues to fuel a surge in COVID-19 cases around the country, killing thousands each week and jeopardizing the nation's economic recovery, President Joe Biden on Thursday is expected to outline a six-pronged federal effort to boost vaccinations and curb the pandemic.

The president is scheduled to speak from the White House at 5 p.m.

In an executive order ahead of the announcement, vaccinations will be required for executive branch employees and contractors who do business with the federal government.

The White House says Biden will also encourage vaccinations for those who haven't had a shot and promote new ways to protect those who are vaccinated. He'll also push efforts to safely keep schools open, as well as new ways to boost testing and promote mask requirements. And, he'll emphasize steps to boost the economic recovery and moves to improve treatment for those with COVID-19.

"We want to be specific about what we’re trying to accomplish in this moment and what these six steps will do," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

"We know that increasing vaccinations will stop the spread of the pandemic, will get the pandemic under control, will return people to normal life. That’s what our objective is."

According to several reports, the six-prong approach includes:

1. Increasing vaccination rates.
2. More protection for vaccinated people.
3. Keeping schools open.
4. Beefing up testing and masking.
5. Protecting the economic recovery.
6. Improving care for those who have COVID-19.

Psaki said the administration is looking to build on the measures that have already been taken. That includes vaccine mandates for government entities, including the military, and working with the private sector on vaccine requirements.

"And we’ve seen some impact from those steps," Psaki said. "Tens of millions of Americans are now covered by vaccination requirements; 14 million Americans got their first shot in August, which was an increase from what we’d seen in the months prior — 4 million more than in July."

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have gone up after a significant drop during late spring and early summer.

The seven-day average of new cases in the U.S., according to the CDC, is 140,058 as of Sept. 7. That is up from the low of 11,613 on June 18.