If everyone is vaccinated in the summer or early fall, not only do more doses need to be given, but the vaccination rate must be increased two to three times. Biden promised to take up this challenge. As a first step, he announced that from next week the number of doses administered will increase from around 8.5 million to 10 million per week. He also promised to make it clear to states what amounts they will receive so that each state can better plan how the vaccine can be distributed efficiently.
President Biden mentioned several times his intuition about using the Defense Production Act to not only secure more vaccines, but also to make sure there was adequate supplies. This includes the vials and syringes required for vaccination, the personal protective equipment required to protect health workers, and the swabs and reagents required for testing.
Biden also continued to emphasize that masks are a more valuable tool than vaccines in the short term. He reiterated projections that a high rate of mask-wearing between now and April could save over 50,000 lives, and he punched Republicans who poked fun at the idea of Biden’s 100-day mask order, saying that real patriots had a mask wear to protect their fellow citizens.
Regarding travel restrictions, Biden made it clear that he wants universal testing of all travelers arriving in the U.S. before they leave their origins and travelers’ isolation upon arrival. This level of restriction is perhaps the only step that would work, considering that there are currently numerous variants on offer around the world and bans against certain nations or regions have limited use.
Overall, the theme of the gig continues Biden’s absolute commitment to tackling the COVID-19 crisis head on and delivering America the kind of effort there should have been … in front of over 400,000 lives.