CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship January 22, 2021
January 22, 2021
The 100 million vaccinations in 100 days edition. President Biden plans a vigorous response to the coronavirus pandemic. He has proposed a sweeping national plan to make tests and vaccines more abundant, make schools and travel safer, and help states pay for efforts to control the virus. Biden’s strategy includes aggressive use of executive authority to protect workers, advance racial equity, and ramp up the manufacturing of test kits, vaccines, and related supplies. The President envisions the creation of mass vaccination sites, including in stadiums, gyms, and community centers, along with a program to build the public health workforce to help with testing, contact tracing, and outreach.
On his very first day in office, President Biden signed three executive orders relating to the pandemic. They require Americans to wear masks and socially distance on federal property and under other limited circumstances; halt the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization; and re-create a White House unit on global health security and biodefense that was disbanded a few years ago.
What of President Biden’s goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office? Experts say this goal is attainable – especially in the latter part of the 100-day period, when they say we very well may be surpassing one million vaccinations a day. The good news is that vaccines have been ramping up. Between January 7 and January 14, the vaccination rate – doses in arms, not just vaccines delivered to states – nearly doubled, and as of early this week, the daily average surpassed 850,000. The bad news is that the vaccine cupboard is nearly bare. There are currently not many vaccine doses in reserve, and this week alone, tens of thousands of Americans who had appointments to get the vaccination saw their appointments either postponed or abruptly cancelled. Right now, there is simply not enough supply.
President Biden is taking bold states to corral the coronavirus pandemic, and states and localities are willing partners. But Biden – and the states and local governments – cannot go it alone. They need help. One step we must take immediately is to pass the President’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 immediate relief package, the American Rescue Plan, including funds for vaccines and other health measures, aid to prevent serious hardship and poverty among workers and families, and support for state and local services. You can tell your members of Congress to pass the plan here.