Joe BIden wearing mask and singing papersPublic health was on the agenda Wednesday during Joe Biden’s first day as president of the United States.

Among the 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations President Biden signed, many of them reversed policies adopted by the previous administration that threaten public health.

The measures Biden signed included:

  • An executive order to recommit to the Paris Agreement, the international accord through which nations agree to lower carbon emissions to reduce global warming. The U.S. will officially rejoin Feb. 19, which is 30 days from the order. Biden also recommitted the U.S. to following science on the climate crisis.
  • Directives for the U.S. to reengage with the World Health Organization, including work to deliver COVID-19 vaccines globally. Anthony Fauci, MD, Biden’s chief medical advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, represented the U.S. at WHO’s Executive Board meeting this week.
  • An order requiring physical distancing and masks on all federal property. Biden also launched his 100 Days Masking Challenge, which calls on all Americans to wear masks in public. The administration will also be reaching out to governors and local and state health authorities to adopt, continue or increase mitigation practices in their regions.
  • An executive order emphasizing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • An executive order on advancing equity for all, with emphasis on people of color who have been underrepresented and marginalized. The order includes rooting out systemic racism in the U.S.
  • An executive order to shore up the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program. DACA protects immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation. Biden also called for legislation offering a clear path to U.S. citizenship for DACA immigrants.

Among other actions reversing policies on immigration put into place under the Trump administration, Biden signed an executive order that eliminates aggressive efforts to seek out and deport immigrants who are in the U.S. without legal permission. Biden also ended the ban that prohibited people from predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S.

For more on Biden’s actions, visit the White House website.

Photo, courtesy White House: On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signs an executive order at the White House. Public health was well represented in the 17 orders he signed just hours after his inauguration ceremony.