- Biden is requiring employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing.
- Federal employees and healthcare workers are also required to be vaccinated, per Biden's new plan.
- The measures hope to counteract Delta's threat in the US.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
The Biden administration is requiring employers with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing – a move that will affect more than 80 million workers.
The administration will also enforce fines of up to $14,000 per violation for employers that ignore these mandates, The Washington Post reported.
The move is part of a larger plan to stop the spread of COVID-19, which Biden unveiled Thursday afternoon.
That plan includes vaccine mandates for federal employees, contractors of federal agencies, and staff at all healthcare facilities that receive federal funding from Medicare or Medicaid. Unlike employees at private companies, these workers would not have the option to get routinely tested as an alternative to being vaccinated.
Biden said last month that federal workers must be fully vaccinated or get tested regularly and wear a mask. He also mandated COVID-19 vaccines for nursing-home staff.
By introducing new mandates and making it harder for federal workers to skirt existing ones, Biden hopes to counteract the Delta variant's threat in the US.
The variant accounts for more than 90% of COVID-19 cases in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though daily cases have begun to decline slightly, they still hover around 136,000 a day on average. Anthony Fauci, the White House's chief medical advisor, told Axios that daily cases should ideally be below 10,000 for the coronavirus to no longer pose a public-health threat.
Average daily hospitalizations and deaths also remain high, at roughly 100,000 and 1,000 a day, respectively.
Public-health experts widely agree that the only way out of the surge is by increasing vaccination rates.
"What is likely to happen is that there are going to be more and more mandates for immunization coming from other sectors," Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Insider.
"For people who opt out of these mandates or refuse," he added, "it's probably going to become so challenging with all the restrictions and testing that life will get very hard if you're unimmunized."