Biden promises vaccine doses for all by May

 

Biden promises vaccine doses for all by May

Hopes grew this week that the end of pandemic is in sight, as the U.S. hit record numbers of daily vaccinations and President Biden vowed to make doses available to every adult American by May. Nearly 6 million shots were administered over last weekend, after a week in which an average 2.4 million shots were given daily—a 40 percent increase from early February. Some 30 percent of all American adults and two-thirds of those over 65 have now received at least one shot, and nearly 40 million Americans are fully vaccinated. In a primetime address last week, Biden promised that rampedup production and the purchase of new doses would mean every adult could be inoculated by the end of May. With infection, death, and hospital rates steadily dropping, he said, if Americans remain vigilant there’s “a good chance” of returning to a semblance of normalcy by July 4, with small gatherings of families and friends. “That will make this Independence Day truly special,” Biden said, “where we not only mark our independence as a nation but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”

Alaska and Mississippi became the first states to open vaccination to all adults, as Connecticut and Michigan said they’d do likewise by April 5 and Ohio opened eligibility to anyone 40 and older. “Get your shots, friends—and let’s get back to normal!” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves exhorted on Twitter. But Mississippi was one of more than a dozen states that lifted nearly all restrictions, even as cases crept up in some states in the upper Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Public-health experts warned that as morecontagious variants spread, another surge is possible if caution is abandoned. “This is not the time to let up,” said Biden.

How wonderful to have “competent leadership,” said the San Francisco Chronicle. Unlike his predecessor, Biden is “willing to take responsibility for a national crisis,” and has reminded us what a “newly sentient national government” can achieve. The pandemic is not yet over, but thanks to the Biden administration’s efforts to speed vaccine production and buy 800 million doses, “the distance to that celebratory day is getting shorter.”

Biden’s self-congratulatory speech felt “like a con job,” said the New York Post. He promised that people can gather outdoors with friends by July, but millions of Americans are already doing that. He “made a big deal of upping the vaccine supply” when that was “hardwired in long before he took office.” In his effort to portray himself as a savior, Biden sounded like he was “trying to sell Americans a bridge they already own.”

Biden should give President Trump his due, said Rich Lowry in National Review.com. Without Trump’s bold Operation Warp Speed initiative, vaccine doses would not now be rolling out by the millions. Biden may have ramped up vaccine production and distribution, but he was building on Trump’s “undeniable, important contributions.” Instead of acknowledging that reality, he acts like “he had to conjure the vaccines out of nowhere.”

We haven’t forgotten what Trump gave us, said Frida Ghitis in CNN.com: an “excruciating, dystopian year” in which 400,000 Americans died. Trump told Americans the virus was “a little flu’’ that was “going away,’’ and callously ignored its casualties. In his “moving, compassionate” speech, Biden offered a stunning contrast—and his accelerated vaccine schedule showed he can deliver for a suffering nation. It’s impossible not to wonder how many lives would have been saved if we’d “had a reasonable, competent, stable president when the coronavirus struck.”

Herd immunity may already be kicking in, said David Leonhardt in The New York Times. Some scientists estimate that about 30 percent of Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, and about 30 percent have received at least one vaccine shot. There’s overlap between the two groups, but more than 40 percent now have some protection from Covid, so the virus has fewer people to infect. But as states “rush to lift mask mandates and restrictions on indoor gatherings,” the twin threats of “risky behavior and new virus variants” pose a continued danger. Remember: About 12,000 Americans died from Covid in the past week. Better days may be coming, but “the crisis is still with us.”


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