President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
FILE - President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, in Wilmington, Del., Dec. 29, 2020.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled Thursday a coronavirus response plan that includes boosting the rate of vaccinations and helping counter the economic effects of the pandemic. 

“The American Rescue Plan will address the stark, intergenerational inequities that have worsened in the wake of COVID-19,” a statement from the transition team said. 

Biden’s plan includes a new round of direct payments to U.S. households, funding to promote the safe opening of schools and mounting a national vaccine program. 

FILE - A stimulus check issued by the Internal Revenue Service to help combat the adverse economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic is seen in San Antonio, Texas, April 23, 2020.

Providing relief to small businesses, notably those owned by entrepreneurs of color, was also detailed in the plan. 

“President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is ambitious, but achievable, and will rescue the American economy and start beating the virus,” the statement said. 

Biden has set a goal of administering 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days after he takes office on January 20, and his plan is expected to include funding to expand the vaccination campaign. 

FILE - Florida Department of Health medical workers prepare to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to seniors in the parking lot of the Gulf View Square Mall in New Port Richey near Tampa, Florida, Dec. 31, 2020.

The U.S. government has approved two different vaccines for emergency use. Both require a two-shot regimen. So far, more than 10 million people have received the first dose. 

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has said passing a coronavirus relief bill would be the first priority when Democrats assume control of the Senate. 

The impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatens to crowd the Senate calendar, but Biden said he hopes the Senate can balance impeachment with other priorities. 

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The United States has recorded nearly 388,000 COVID-19 deaths, and for more than two months, the nation has been dealing with its worst surge in infections. 

During the past week, the country has added an average of 245,000 new cases per day with 3,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at record highs. 
 

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