President Joe Biden warned Americans on Tuesday that ‘we aren’t at the finish line’ when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and he urged people not to let up on migratory measures as cases are on the rise.
‘The virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight and think we’re at the finish line already. But let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do,’ he said in remarks at the White House.
Biden issued his warning as he announced he will move up the vaccination eligibility goalpost by two weeks so all American adults can get inoculated by April 19.
‘No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions. My message today is a simple one. Many states have already opened up to all adults. But beginning April 19 every adult in every state, every adult in this country is eligible to get in line to get a COVID vaccination,’ he said.
The country is facing a fourth surge of the virus, experts have warned amid worries about the number of variants on the rise.
‘New variants of the virus are spreading and they’re moving quickly,’ Biden pointed out. ‘Cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining. While deaths are still down, way down from January, they’re going up in some places.’
He also touted the administration’s progress since he took office: over 80% of teachers, school staff and childcare workers received at least one shot by the end of March and 150 million shots in the arms of Americans.
But his speech was more a cautionary tale than a victory celebration, his words tempered with warnings to remain cautious as the warm weather returns and the vaccination rollout continues.
‘We’re not even half way through vaccinating 300 million Americans. This is going to take time,’ he said. ‘Now is not the time to celebrate.’
President Joe Biden warned Americans that ‘we aren’t at the finish line’ when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and he reminded people to remain cautious
President Biden also visited a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary where he watched people get their COVID shot
President Biden reminded Americans that even after getting a shot it takes time for the vaccine to kick in so a person is fully innoculated
He also reminded people that it takes time for the vaccine to take affect, particularly if one gets the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which take two shots.
‘To get your first shot next week in mid April, you won’t be fully protected until until May, late May. If you get your first shot in Mid May, you aren’t fully protected until late June. So look. Now, on the one hand, June, isn’t that far away, given how long this has been going on, but it isn’t here yet either,’ he said.
Earlier in the day he visited a vaccination site in Alexandria, Va., where he offered words of hope, saying most Americans should be vaccinated by end of summer.
‘I think If everyone continues down the road that we’re on now, it will be behind us but it’s not over yet. We’re in a situation where I believe by end of the summer, we’ll have a significant portion of the American public vaccinated,’ he said during a visit to a pop-up vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary’s Immanuel Chapel.
He watched as people got their shot in the arms, three at a time, at three long tables set up on the right side of the room.
‘Man you’ve got biceps as big as my thighs,’ he told one person getting their shot.
Biden’s new eligibility goal comes as 34 states have already opened up vaccination eligibility to those 16 and older and 41 states will have have it opened up to adults before April 19 anyway.
Some liberal states more hard hit by the pandemic are less ambitious in their vaccination eligibility, including California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Oregon.
During a speech last week, Biden already said 90% of adults would be eligible for vaccines by mid-April – and the previous goal was to open it to everyone above 18 by May 1.
President Joe Biden speaks with medical workers during a visit to a coronavirus vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va.
The announcement comes as 41 states have already or will already have vaccine eligibility open to those 16 and older by April 19
Before Biden’s new goal is unveiled, 41 states will have already opened up vaccine eligibility to adults. And four other governors have announced they will open it up by April 19.
Although eligibility is expanding at a rapid pace, this does not necessarily mean inoculation rates will speed up in the U.S.
Some states are experiencing obstacles with getting shots in the arms of even those who are more at risk – like individuals older than 60 and those with preexisting conditions.
People have lamented of lone wait times and lines while others say they can’t even get an appointment and spend their days refreshing web pages to try and snag a time to get the shot.
A few states have even reported shortages of shots.
Notably last week, a facility in Baltimore, Maryland had to throw out 15 million one-shot doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after an ingredient error.
The administration has set some low goals they have easily surpassed and later changed to be more ambitious.
When taking office, Biden said he wanted to get 100 million shots administered in his first 100 days in office. Far exceeding that goal, he later said the new target is to get 200 million vaccinations in arms by the 100 day mark.
More than 30.7 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus while more than 555,000 have fallen fatal after contracting it
Biden’s goal is to get 200 million vaccines administered by his 100th day in office
During last week’s speech, Biden said he aims to get a vaccination site within 5 miles of 90% of Americans by April 19 – mainly by increasing the number of federal pharmacy vaccination program sites from 17,000 to 40,000.
Besides remarks on inoculation progress from the White House, the president will also visit on Tuesday afternoon a vaccination site in Alexandria, Virginia.
During his speech, Biden is also expected to tout that 150 million doses of the vaccine have been given within his first 75 days, meaning he is well on track to reach his 200 million goal.
He will also bring attention to a record breaking day last weekend where 4 million doses were administered in a 24-hour period.
As of Tuesday morning more than 30.7 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus while more than 555,000 have died after contracting it.
New cases of coronavirus in the U.S. rose for the third week in a row even as vaccinations continue to ramp up across the country.
Infections rose five percent to more than 450,000 last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, health officials recorded 79,075 – the fourth time in the last two weeks that daily cases have nearly hit or surpassed 80,000.
What’s more, nearly half of U.S. states, 23 in total, are reporting an increase in new cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Meanwhile, deaths remain low with 607 reported on Monday and a seven-day rolling average of about 783, the lowest figure recorded since October 28, the analysis found.
It comes as Michigan reported a record number of coronavirus cases about one month after relaxing restrictions and Nebraska recorded the highest number of infections in almost two months.
In addition to rising cases, hospitalizations are also increasing.
The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals rose four percent to more than 37,000 in the week ended April 4, breaking a streak of 11 weeks of falling admissions, Reuters found.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections among young people may be behind the surge.
‘As we’ve been working with states and understanding their individual outbreaks among younger people,’ Walensky said. ‘I want to underscore that this is among 18 to 24-year-olds where we’re seeing peaks in cases.’
In particular, states in the Midwest are seeing the hardest of the brunt, including Michigan.
Currently, almost half of U.S. states – a total of 23 – are reporting a rise in cases, according to Johns Hopkins data
On Monday, Michigan reported a record number of coronavirus cases to top the daily tally among U.S. states.
Officials recorded 11,082 COVID-19 cases, surpassing a previous daily peak of 10,140 hit on November 20 and bringing the total caseload to 779,974.
This makes The Great Lake State the only state to report more than 7,000 new infections on Monday.
Michigan is currently the worst affected U.S. state in terms of new cases and hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the week to April 5.
Following a slew of other states, Michigan began loosening restrictions around gatherings by increasing the capacity of gyms, restaurants, pubs, retail stores and entertainment venues in March.
Around the time when restrictions were eased, the state reported about 1,800 new infections a day. In the seven days to April 5, the average has surged to over 6,700 cases a day.
The relaxations are set to last until April 19.