Biden warns deaths will pass 600,000 before US turns corner
President Joe Biden on Monday appeared to boost his goal for coronavirus vaccinations in his first 100 days in office, suggesting that the nation could soon be vaccinating 1.5 million Americans on average per day, AP reports.
Biden signalled his increasing bullishness on the pace of vaccinations after signing an executive order to boost government purchases from US manufacturers. It was among a flurry of moves by Biden during his first full week to show he’s taking swift action to heal an ailing economy as talks with Congress over a $1.9tn stimulus package showed few signs of progress.
Biden’s new vaccination target comes after he and his aides faced criticism for the 100 million goal in his first 100 days in office. The US has exceeded a pace of 1 million doses per day over the last week.
“I think we may be able to get that to … 1.5 million a day, rather than 1 million a day,” Biden said, “but we have to meet that goal of a million a day.”
Biden added that he expects widespread availability of the vaccines for Americans by spring, with the US “well on our way to herd immunity” necessary to end the pandemic by summer. Even so, he warned the nation was going to be “in this for a while, and could see between “600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.”
A toll of 660,000 would be roughly equivalent to one in 500 Americans.
The current US death toll is 420,000.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
You can find me on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
US President Joe Biden says that he expects widespread availability of the vaccines for Americans by spring, with the U.S. “well on our way to herd immunity” necessary to end the pandemic by summer. Even so, he warned the nation was going to be “in this for a while, and could see between “600,000 and 660,000 deaths before we begin to turn the corner in a major way.”
The US toll is currently just over 420,000.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- The UK will announce on Tuesday enforced quarantine for travellers arriving in the country from abroad, the broadcaster ITV reported, after prime minister Boris Johnson said that new coronavirus variants were prompting a review of border policy.
- The Italian government on Monday sent a letter of formal notice to Pfizer calling on the drug company to respect its contractual commitments over its Covid-19 vaccine deliveries, the government special commissioner said.
- Spain has recorded a record number of weekend cases, logging 93,822 infections between Friday and Monday, and 767 deaths. The latest statistics, published by the health ministry on Monday, make the last weekend the worst of the entire pandemic in terms of new cases. The number of cases of the virus per 100,ooo people over the past 14 days rose from 829 on Friday to 885 on Monday.
- Rioting broke out for a third night in Dutch cities on Monday, initially linked to protests over a government decision to add a night time curfew to the Netherlands’ already strict lockdown.
- The number of people hospitalised in France for Covid-19 rose by more than a 1,000 over the last two days, a trend unseen since November 16, and the number of patients in intensive care units for the disease exceeded 3,000 for the first time since December 9. The country’s Covid-19 death toll was up by 445, at 73,494, the world’s seventh highest, versus a rise of 172 on Sunday.
- People in Iceland will soon receive vaccination certificates that could allow them to circumvent quarantine requirements. Iceland’s Directorate of Health said on Monday is in the process of finalising a system for Icelanders who have been fully vaccinated to obtain a Covid-19 vaccination certificate.
- The World Health Organization is providing risk management advice to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese authorities regarding the holding of the Tokyo Olympics, but the top priority is vaccinating health workers worldwide against Covid-19, its top emergency expert said.
- Moderna has confirmed that its Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be protective against the two new South African and British strains of the virus, Reuters reports.
- Some 8.8% of global working hours were lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, roughly four times the number lost in the 2009 financial crisis, but there are “tentative signs” of recovery, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said.