Few days ahead of his inauguration, US President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9tn stimulus plan for the coronavirus-battered US economy.
The plan, if approved by Congress would see $1tn handed down to households, with direct payments of $1,400 to all Americans
The plan also has $415bn to strengthen the Covid-19 vaccine rollout while $440bn is proposed for small businesses.
Biden has pledged to defeat the virus that has taken no fewer than 385,000 American lives.
He campaigned last year vowing to do a better job handling the pandemic than President Donald Trump, a Republican.
In a primetime speech on Thursday night from his home town of Wilmington, Delaware he said: “It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis.
“A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste. We have to act and we have to act now.”
The proposal for $1,400 direct payments to Americans would come on top of $600 payments in a relief bill that Mr Trump signed last month.
Mr Biden’s proposal comes as a winter surge of the virus breaks records, bringing well over 200,000 new cases each day in the US.
Jobless claims have now risen to their highest weekly total since August and over 18 million people remain unemployed across the country.
The initial weeks of Mr. Biden’s term will take place against the backdrop of a US Senate impeachment trial for his predecessor.
There is no telling how soon the lawmakers will proceed or whether it will vote to convict President Trump – but it is expected to distract from the new Biden administration’s agenda.