Statement: President Biden’s executive orders will help tackle COVID-19

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

Utilizing the Defense Production Act to ramp up testing and PPE production is long overdue


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to issue a set of sweeping executive orders Thursday to combat COVID-19. They will include using the Defense Production Act to ramp up testing, boost production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and any other materials needed to distribute and administer the vaccines. The president will also establish a board tasked with expanding testing capacity. 

Last spring, U.S. PIRG mobilized more than 100 mayors and 300 health professionals across the country to call for full use of the Defense Production Act to produce and distribute PPE. 

In response, Matthew Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns director, released the following statement:

“We’re nearly a year into a war against COVID-19, but we still lack the necessary tools to fight. The previous administration passed responsibility to the states and local governments to secure PPE and testing, creating a chaotic marketplace rife with confusion and competition. The result is that health professionals still don’t have the equipment they need to keep themselves safe, and experts say we should be doing four times more testing than we are now to suppress the virus. 

“President Biden’s actions today will go a long way toward giving our country a fighting chance against this virus. We’re calling on Congress to swiftly approve the billions in funding that the president has requested to fully implement these measures.”