Biden makes bullish promise that everyone who ‘wants a vaccine will have it in spring’: President pledges to vaccinate at least 200m in five months and says ‘we can be well on our way to herd immunity by summer’
- President says he is confident of reaching 1.5 million doses a day ‘within weeks’ and that country can be ‘well on our way to herd immunity’ by summer
- But warns ‘we will still be dealing with COVID in the fall’ and repeats warning of hitting 600,000 deaths
- The seven-day rolling average for daily vaccinations nationwide is currently at 1.2 million – putting 1.5 million apparently well within range
- So far the US has administered 22.4 million vaccine doses, which is 54 percent of the 41.4 million shots distributed to states by the federal government. Currently 6.8 percent of the population has been vaccinated
- It comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations fell to the lowest levels since mid-December and states reported a sharp drop in new cases and deaths
- On Sunday, there were 1,769 deaths and 130,485 new cases recorded. Just over 110,000 people were hospitalized with the virus
- To assist with the rollout, Google has just announced that it will offer up some of its US offices, car parks and open spaces as vaccination centers
- Google will add COVID-19 vaccine location information to both Maps and Search to help people find more information on where and when they can get a jab
Joe Biden said he believed that the U.S. will be able to offer vaccines to every American who wants one ‘in spring,’ Monday, amid questions over how ambitious his rollout for the shots is.
He also increased his goal of 1 million vaccines a day to 1.5 million Monday, predicting his administration would reach that point ‘soon’ – even though it had been surpassed already on the day he was inaugurated.
And the president also predicted that the U.S. would be ‘well on our way’ to herd immunity by the summer, but warned that Americans will be dealing with the coronavirus pandemic into the fall.
Setting a target of meeting demand for the vaccine would suggest offering enough doses for 200 million people, 60% of the population this spring – which officially ends on June 20. That would be a pace of at least 1.2 million doses a day between now and June 20 on the basis of one dose per person, while if those 200 million were to be fully immunized, it would take an average of 2.4 million doses a day.
So far the US has administered 22.4 million vaccine doses, which is 54 percent of the 41.4 million shots distributed to states by the federal government. Currently 6.8 percent of the US population has been vaccinated.
The seven-day rolling average for daily vaccinations nationwide is currently at 1.2 million and a record 1.6 million doses were distributed on Biden’s inauguration.
Despite the sluggish start, the number of shots being handed out nationwide has only been increasing since the rollout began in mid-December under Trump’s administration. Since January 1, the rolling average of vaccine doses per day has quadrupled.
Biden identified spring as the season when everyone who wants a vaccine would get one – after his press secretary dodged the question hours earlier.
‘I think it will be this spring. I think we’ll be able to do that this spring,’ he continued. ‘But it’s going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we’ve ever tried in this country. But I think we can do that.’
Spring official begins on March 20 and ends June 20. Polling which suggests between 55% and 60% of people want vaccinated would mean that
Asked if his initial target of 100 million doses in 100 days was not ambitious enough Biden said: ‘So I’m quite confident that we will be in a position within the next three weeks or so to be vaccinating people at the range of a million a day or in excess of that.
‘I promised we would get at least 100 million vaccinations. That’s not people. sometimes you need more than one shot, the vaccination.
‘I think with the grace of God, the good will of the neighbor and the creek not rising, as the old saying goes, I think we may be able to get that to 1.5 million a day rather than 1 million a day,’ Biden said.
Vaccine promise: Joe Biden upped the target for vaccines to 1.5 million a day ‘soon’ amid questions over whether his incoming administration was lacking ambition, given 1.6m were distributed on the day of his inauguration
The seven-day rolling average for daily vaccinations nationwide is currently at 1.2 million. More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been handed out daily in US since Biden’s inauguration
COVID-19 hospitalizations have now fallen to the lowest levels since mid-December and states have reported a sharp drop in new cases and deaths
So far the US has administered 22.4 million vaccine doses. Pictured is a vaccine clinic in Seattle, Washington on Sunday at the Amazon Meeting Center
So far the US has administered 22.4 million vaccine doses, which is 54 percent of the 41.4 million shots distributed to states by the federal government. Currently 6.8 percent of the population has been vaccinated
America’s vaccine roll-out nightmare: White House admits it has NO IDEA how many vaccines there are as a 20 million dose discrepancy emerges
The White House on Monday admitted that it has no idea how many COVID vaccines there are in the country.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked at the daily briefing if the new team at least had a ball park idea of how many doses there were in the country that have not yet been given out.
She responded: ‘We’ve been here for five days to evaluate the supply so that we can release the maximum amount while also ensuring that everyone can get the second dose on the FDA recommended schedule.
‘So the confusion around this issue, which we acknowledge, there is some confusion, it speaks to a larger problem, which is what we’re inheriting from the prior administration, which is much worse than we could have imagined.’
America has only given 6 percent of its population their first COVID-19 vaccine and 0.9 percent have had both shots.
The woefully slow roll-out has been labored with problems since the start with states left to handle their own distribution amid staff shortages, and while other countries storm ahead in dishing it out.
President Biden has given the ambitious target of giving 100million vaccines in his first 100 days in office. So far, he’s on track with more than 1million a day going out.
But with more than 328million in the US – including an unknown number who may not sign up to get it even when it becomes available – there are a number of issues that need to be addressed,
One huge problem is that the states say they are running out of doses, while the CDC’s data suggests they still have millions.
Another is that in certain states, some people can get access to it before others; New Jersey and Pennsylvania, for example, are allowing smokers of any age to get the vaccine without having to put up any proof that they actually smoke.
Another problem is that people are not showing up for appointments which puts the supply of dose at risk.
The vaccines have a short window to be used in – once defrosted and opened, they have to go in someone’s arm within six hours.
Anecdotes have started emerging of young, healthy people being randomly offered extra doses in pharmacies because the person who was meant to receive it didn’t show up. There are also stories of people in the eligible categories being unable to nail down an appointment for their first dose.
‘I feel confident that by summer we’re going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity and increasing the access for people who aren’t on the list, all the way going down to children and how we deal with that. But I feel good about where we’re going.’
But he tempered his increased expectations with words of warning, noting it’s still ‘gonna take a long time to beat it.’
‘We’re in this for a while,’ Biden said, repeating his prediction deaths would go up to between 600,000 and 660,000. They are currently over 410,000.
His words come after his CDC director warned that the administration’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days may be hindered by the supplies of vaccine doses, and the White House press secretary suggested that officials are unclear on exactly how much vaccine supply there is.
‘I think that the supply is probably going to be the most limiting constraint early on, and we’re really hoping that after that first 100 days, we’ll have much more production,’ Rochelle Walensky, the the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
‘We’re really hoping we’ll have more vaccine and that will increase the pace at which we can do the vaccinations,’ she said.
Biden said as more people got vaccines the death rate would go down.
‘It’s beginning to move. But I’m confident we will beat this. We will beat this but we’re still going to be talking about this in the summer. We’re still going to be dealing with this issue in the early fall,’ he said.
On Saturday, the United States reported more than 1.3 million newly administered doses of the COVID vaccine, and the tally was more than 1.1 million by late Sunday afternoon, marking the sixth day in a row the country has topped 1 million daily doses.
Biden also repeated his mantra that people should wear face masks.
‘If we wear masks between now and the end of April, the experts tell us we can save 50,000 lives – 50,000 people who otherwise would die,’ he noted.
It comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations fell to the lowest levels since mid-December and states reported a sharp drop in new cases and deaths. On Sunday, there were 1,769 deaths and 130,485 new cases recorded. Just over 110,000 people were hospitalized with the virus.
Even as he repeated his call to ‘shut down’ the virus, Biden talked about boosting testing to reopen schools with kindergarten through eighth grade safely.
‘I believe we should make school classrooms safe and secure for the students, for the teachers and for the help that’s in those schools maintaining those facilities,’ Biden said.
His COVID relief plan is calling for new resources to disinfect schools and get them back open, in addition to demanding much more widespread testing.
‘We need new ventilation systems in those schools. We need testing for people coming in and out of the classes. We need testing for teachers as well as students and we need the capacity, the capacity to know that in fact, the circumstance in the school is safe and secure for everyone,’ he said.
He has ordered cabinet agencies to develop guidance for reopening schools. ‘There’s no reason why the clear guidance will be that every school should be thoroughly sanitized – from the lavatories to the hallways,’ he said.
He also pushed back on the idea that teachers or teachers’ unions don’t want to reopen, although some school systems have featured tensions between parents and teachers concerned about risk of exposure.
‘It’s not so much about the idea teachers aren’t going to work. The teachers I know, they want to work,’ said Biden. ‘They just want to work at a safe environment and as safe as we can rationally make it,’ he said.
‘And we can do that. We should be able to open up every school kindergarten through eighth grade if, in fact, we administer these tests.’
Biden’s acknowledgment of the need to ramp up the vaccine target comes after Dr Anthony Fauci, who is Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser, has also said it was ‘floor not ceiling’ goal.
To assist with the rollout, Google has just announced that it will offer up some of its US offices, car parks and open spaces as vaccination centers.
Google will also add COVID-19 vaccine location information to both Maps and Search to help people find more information on where and when they can get a jab.
The tech giant’s four main offices in the US – in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kirkland, Washington and New York City – will be turned into vaccine hubs in collaboration with healthcare provider One Medical.
The office spaces are currently empty given Google’s employees are working remotely until at least July.
‘Today we’re announcing that we’re providing more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable distribution and making it easier to find locally relevant information, including when and where to get the vaccine,’ Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.
‘We’ll also be opening up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites as needed.’
He said searches for ‘vaccines near me’ has increased five-fold since the start of the year. As a result the tech giant is adding COVID-19 vaccine locations to both its traditional Search feature and Maps.
‘We’ll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through,’ Pichai said.
Fauci says ‘preliminary data’ shows UK variant IS more deadly and is already in more than 20 states – but he’s more worried about South African strain
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday gave the grim warning that the UK’s new variant of COVID-19 is more deadly than what’s been seen in the past based on preliminary data that hasn’t yet been released but that he is more concerned about the South African variant which he says makes vaccines less effective.
His warning comes just days after he went against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said it wasn’t more deadly. Johnson said at a press briefing in London on Friday that the new strain was between 30 and 40 percent more deadly but he offered no data to back-up the frightening statistic.
Afterwards, the global science community – including Dr. Fauci – rushed to urge caution against what he’d said and insist that while the variant was more infectious, it was not necessarily more deadly.
Many have accused politicians of scaremongering and point to the fact that cases and deaths are going down in both the UK and the US.
There are also more than 160 cases of the UK variant in the US across more than 20 states. Dr. Fauci said on Monday it was causing more serious infection in people – which means it is more deadly – but he did not say how much more deadly
Fauci’s remarks on Monday are a marked shift away from that.
There are more than 160 known cases of the UK variant in 21 states across the US including 40 in California, 46 in Florida and 16 in the state of New York. The South African variant has not yet been detected in the US, nor has another variant from Brazil.
All three are thought to be more infectious. While the British strain is also feared to be more deadly, the South African and Brazilian strains are feared to make vaccines less effective. The Brazilian strain is also feared to be causing re-infection but that has not yet been proven.
It comes amid an agonizingly slow roll-out of vaccines across the world. The UK and US – which were among the first to approve the vaccines – are behind Israel, the UAE and Bahrain in vaccinating their populations.
President Joe Biden is imposing a travel ban from South Africa to try to stunt the flow of that variant and British officials are considering a 14-week, mandatory hotel quarantine for anyone who enters the country.
Fauci on Monday also said the US might need to ‘upgrade’ its vaccines to work against the South African variant – but then insisted the vaccines are still effective against it and that it only makes them less effective by a ‘very slight’ amount.
Fauci did not reveal what data he had seen that proved the British variant was more deadly, but that he was ‘pretty convinced’ by the numbers.
Google will start immediately showing vaccine hub locations in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and will gradually expand to include more states and countries.
‘We’ll begin showing state and regional distribution information on Search so people can easily find when they are eligible to receive a vaccine,’ he said.
It comes after Biden signed a series of executive orders last week, including some that target vaccine distribution.
He plans to partner with state and local governments to establish vaccination spots in conference centers, stadiums and gymnasiums.
The new administration will also deploy thousands of clinical staff from federal agencies, military medical personnel and pharmacy chains to increase vaccinations, and make teachers and grocery clerks eligible.
Speaking of Biden’s goal to hand out 100 million doses, Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday: ‘I think it was a reasonable goal that was set, we always want to do better than the goal you set, but it is really a floor and not a ceiling.’
Fauci did, however, admit that it could be a challenge given the logistical hurdles that have already been encountered with the rocky vaccine rollout.
‘If you look forward with the challenges that we will be having, getting it out into the community that is not easily accessible, getting it to people that are not uniform in the sense of being health care providers or people in nursing home, I still think that challenge is really – it’s going to be a floor, not a ceiling. It’s not going to be easy to do that,’ he said.
‘We’ve got to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can as quickly as we possibly can.’
The data shows that no state has over 600 people per million hospitalized with COVID-19 – the first time this has happened since November 3rd
Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the 100 day goal was just the first step in Biden’s vaccine rollout plan.
‘One-hundred million shots is a bold, ambitious goal, but we need to keep going after that. That is our first goal, it’s not our final goal, it’s not the endpoint, it’s just a metric the American people can watch and measure how we are doing,’ Klain said.
He also claimed there was no vaccine distribution plan set up by the Trump administration in his final months of office.
‘The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House,’ Klain said.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, the new CDC director, admitted on Sunday that the US doesn’t have enough COVID-19 vaccines to meet states’ needs, even as New York and Georgia desperately plead for more doses to inoculate their populations.
‘We don’t have as many doses as we would like now for states like New York, for other states claiming to have run out of the vaccine,’ Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Fox News Sunday.
‘Right now, that is the pressure point that I am feeling and by the end of March or so I really do hope our production scale has scaled up dramatically and that we actually have way more than we have right now.’
It came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said over the weekend that New York was running out of vaccines and Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp asked for more shots to keep up with the demand.
Google will add COVID-19 vaccine location information to both Maps and Search to help people find more information on where and when they can get a jab
Patients wait and are observed for an adverse reactions following their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Amazon Meeting Center in downtown Seattle on Sunday
West Texans line up outside of Ratliff Stadium as they wait to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part of a mass vaccination clinic put on by the City of Odessa on Sunday
People in their cars line up to wait for a free drive-through vaccine site in Sequim, Washington over the weekend
The vaccine rollout has different from state to state since it began in mid-December.
From California, where distribution has varied from county to county, to New York where the largest city in the nation is running low on supply, states and healthcare providers have struggled to acquire, store and distribute vaccines.
In Florida, thousands of elderly residents have lined for hours given it is a first-come-first served basis in the state.
Shirley Green, 69, reported waiting for 19 hours in her car overnight in order to receive her first dose back on January 4.
‘(It) would have been my brother’s birthday. And he died of COVID in October,’ she told WFTV.
‘And to me, it was my – I don’t know tribute is the right word, or honor to him, (to) try and keep myself safe from all of this ugliness that’s going on.’
Meanwhile in California, Jerry Shapiro, a 78-year-old pharmacist from Los Angeles, has yet to receive his first shot despite being at the top of the list of people now eligible in the state.
Shapiro told Reuters he has spent hours calling multiple health agencies and making fruitless computer searches, an experience familiar to many people across the US.
In Florida, thousands of elderly residents have lined for hours given it is a first-come-first served basis in the state. Shirley Green, 69, reported waiting for 19 hours in her car overnight in order to receive her first dose back on January 4
‘Why not make it easy?’ asked Shapiro, who is also concerned about his wife because of medical conditions that would make her particularly vulnerable to the virus.
‘Have it in your neighborhood. Set up an appointment, get your shot and be done.’
A key problem is organizing the distribution of vaccines to smaller clinics and pharmacies – rather than just to large medical centers and retail pharmaceutical chains.
In California, only a handful of independent pharmacies have been able to acquire vaccines for their customers – generally only in rural areas where the big chain stores are not present, said Sonya Frausto, a pharmacist in the state capital of Sacramento.
Shapiro, who owns an independent pharmacy in downtown Los Angeles, said customers have been calling daily seeking vaccines, but he has to tell them he has no supply.
He and his wife finally made appointments to receive a vaccine on Saturday, after repeated phone calls and hours on hold led them to healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente. The Shapiros are not Kaiser members, but the nonprofit is offering them shots nonetheless, Jerry Shapiro said.
In Sacramento, 65-year-old restaurateur Jami Goldstene would feel a lot safer at her public-facing job if she could get a vaccine. She is technically eligible because of her age, but has yet to be offered an appointment – or even find a way to make one – despite hours on the phone and the internet.
‘It’s very frustrating,’ she said. ‘I want to be over with it. I want to feel safe again.’
REVEALED: Fauci is America’s highest paid federal employee on $417,608 – after joking in interview with Matt McConaughey that he was ‘just a government worker on a government salary’
- Dr. Anthony Fauci is the nation’s highest paid federal employee raking in $417,608 in 2019, which is the latest year that federal salary data is available
- He made more than the president’s $400,000-a-year salary
- In 2019 he also made more than Mike Pence, who outranks Fauci in authority, and made $235,100 in salary as well as Dr. Deborah Birx who earned $305,972
- If Fauci remains in this position and doesn’t get a raise he’ll make $2.5million from 2019 through 2024
- Data shows that the highest federal employees were medical and dental officers
By Emily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com and Emily Crane For Dailymail.com
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the nation’s highest paid federal employee raking in an annual salary of $417,608 in 2019, the latest year federal salary data is available.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, 80, is not only the highest paid doctor in the federal government but the highest paid employee out of four million federal staffers.
In the pandemic Fauci became the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and according to salary data, made more than his peers in 2019.
Vice President Mike Pence, who outranks Fauci in authority, made $235,100 salary in 2019, meanwhile Dr. Deborah Birx earned $305,972 in 2019.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the nation’s highest paid federal employee raking in $417,608 in 2019, the latest year federal salary data is available
Fauci’s salary even surpassed the $400,000 pay of the president. Donald Trump did not accept the presidential salary and instead wrote checks equal to a quarter of his salary each quarter to various government agencies.
The salary data was collected by OpenTheBooks.com via Freedom of Information Act requests, which included federal employees whose salaries are funded by taxpayers.
On the list the highest paid federal government employees are medical and dental officers.
In other branches of government, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will earn $223,500 this year, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will make $270,700 and House an Representatives and Senators will make $174,000. Four-star military generals will make $268,000 a year, all less than Fauci, according to Forbes.
In the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019 Fauci made $3.6million in salary. In 2014 Fauci’s pay increased from $335,000 to its current $417,608.
If Fauci remains as Director of the National Institute for Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and current Chief Medical Advisor to the President he’ll make a whopping $2.5million from 2019 through 2024 – that is, if he doesn’t get a raise.
In an August 13 interview with actor Matthew McConaughey Fauci was asked if he had millions of dollars invested in COVID vaccines.
Fauci said with a laugh: ‘Matthew, no, I got zero! I am a government worker. I have a government salary.’
Meanwhile CDC scientist Dr. Stephen Lindstrom, who was in charge of overseeing the CDC COVID-19 testing system, made just $108,747 in basic pay, an additional $23,533 in adjusted pay, and an ‘award’of $750 in 2019.
The Executive Branch includes 2.1million federal agency employees, 1.4million members of the military and 500,000 postal employees.
Federal employee salaries are typically called at a certain level, under IV of the Executive Schedule, which was $172,500 in 2019, which will rise by 2.6 percent in 2020.
However, there are exceptions to the rule – as with Fauci. This is likely because the federal government has to compete with private sector medicine when it comes to doctor and scientist salaries.
Fauci has a medical degree from Cornell University. He started his 53-year career at the NIG in 1968 and has advised every president since President Ronald Reagan. In 2008, President George W. Bush honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
Polls show he’s the most trusted public figure in the US for information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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