President Joe Biden expressed concern about millions of women losing their jobs and the shuttering of schools due to the pandemic, calling both par
President Joe Biden expressed concern about millions of women losing their jobs and the shuttering of schools due to the pandemic, calling both part of a “national emergency” in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It is a national emergency. It genuinely is a national emergency,” Biden said during an interview with “CBS Evening News.”
Both crises stem from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected service jobs, which women were likelier to occupy than men. The recent trend has effectively erased, and in some cases reversed, decades of economic progress made by women in the workforce.
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In September alone, around 865,000 women dropped out of the workforce, compared to 216,000 men, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, almost 3 million women have dropped out of the labor force since the pandemic’s start.
Women are also more often the primary caregivers of children and elderly relatives, meaning the burden of care during the pandemic has fallen especially hard on women in the household.
Congressional Budget Office:Economy will return to pre-pandemic output level by mid-2021, sooner than expected
‘Time for schools to reopen’
The president also expressed alarm about continued school closures, which have disrupted families across the country and put millions of children at risk of falling behind in their educations. A year later, some students are still without internet access.
“I think it’s time for schools to reopen safely. Safely. You have to have fewer people in the classroom, you have to have ventilation systems that have been reworked,” Biden said during the CBS News interview.
“Our CDC commissioner is going to be coming out with science-based judgment, within I think as early as Wednesday as to lay out what the minimum requirements are,” the president noted.
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“I think about the price,” he said of the developmental and mental health costs many children are experiencing during the pandemic.
“So many of my grandkids and your kids are going to pay for not having had the chance to finish whatever it was. That graduation, where you didn’t get to walk across the stage — I think they’re going through a lot, these kids,” the president surmised.
NFL stadiums as COVID-19 vaccination sites
Biden expressed interest in using every metric available to combat the pandemic, including following up with the National Football League about its offer to use stadiums as vaccination sites for COVID-19. In 2020, the National Basketball Association similarly used many arenas as testing sites for the virus.
“Absolutely we will,” Biden said of the NFL’s offer. “And, I mean, let me put it this way — I tell my team they’re available and I believe we’ll use them. Look, it was one thing if we had enough vaccine, which we didn’t. So we’re pushing as hard as we can to get more vaccine manufactured.”
Biden said that the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic was “even more dire than we thought,” a fact the Biden team only realized after assuming office.
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On Friday, the White House announced it would invoke the Defense Production Act to spur the manufacturing of more vaccines and coronavirus testing. The Pentagon also announced it will deploy 1,000 active-duty military personnel to help with vaccine rollout.
“The idea that this can be done and we can get to herd immunity much before the end of this summer is very difficult,” Biden conceded about the prospect of getting vaccines to a critical mass of Americans in a speedy time-frame.
Epidemiologists have said that at least 75% of the population will need to be vaccinated before viral spread will be meaningfully limited by herd immunity and large parts of pre-pandemic life can resume.
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