COVID Death Toll Expected To Hit 500k Next Month, Biden Says

President Joe Biden prepares to sign a series of executive orders at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office just hours after his inauguration on January 20, 2021. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
|
January 21, 2021 5:45 p.m.

The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to pass 500,000 at some point next month, President Biden said, in remarks that offered a whiplash from the previous administration.

He added that his administration would need months “to turn things around” from the Trump administration, which eschewed a federal role when it came to confronting the pandemic and botched many of the limited programs it did attempt.

In the remarks, Biden focused on two elements of fighting the pandemic: improving vaccine rollout to hit his administration’s goal of 100 million shots delivered in his first 100 days in office, and enacting measures to control the spread of the virus.

On the latter point, Biden signed an executive order mandating mask-wearing on planes, trains, and buses. He also asked Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office.

“It’s a patriotic act,” Biden said. “They’re the single best thing to do because [vaccines] take time to work.”

Biden also elaborated on his vaccine distribution plan, which will see a beefed up federal role in coordinating the response to the virus. Biden said that he had directed FEMA to create a “COVID response liaison” for each state, and that the government would hire vaccinators “to meet the nation’s needs” amid a national shortage in people available to vaccinate.

He added that his administration would “move heaven and Earth” to meet the vaccination goal.

Later in the day, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Tony Fauci described the Biden vaccination plan as “taking what’s going and amplifying it” but denied that the effort was “starting from scratch.”

“If we get the majority of Americans, 70-85 percent, vaccinated by [autumn], we could have a degree of herd immunity that would get us back to normal,” Fauci added.

Newsletters
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.
Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: