Currents News Staff
January has become the worst month for U.S. COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Jan. 26, nearly 80,000 people have died from coronavirus.
The grim milestone highlights the growing demand from state officials for more vaccines to inoculate americans.
On Tuesday, President Biden announced plans to expedite vaccine distribution and have nearly the entire U.S. population vaccinated by the end of summer.
Shortages and long lines have been fueling frustration across the country.
“The end goal is to beat COVID-19, and the way we do that is get more people vaccinated,” said Biden, adding that the U.S. will buy an additional 200 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna, increasing the nation’s supply to 600 million.
Since both vaccines require two doses, that’s enough to protect 300 million Americans against COVID-19, that’s more than the U.S.’ entire adult population.
“The brutal truth is, it’s going to take months before we get the majority of Americans vaccinated, months,” the president said.
The announcement comes one day after he raised his daily vaccination target to 1.5 million people a day, all part of his plan to give 100 million shots in his first 100 days.
“The president said, ‘I hope we can do even more than that,’” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. “Of course that’s a hope. He is continuing to push our team to get as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
The president began his term focused on speeding a messy vaccine rollout in the U.S, signing an executive order pledging to boost vaccine supplies on his first full day in office.
On Tuesday, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator told governors vaccine allocations will increase by about 16% starting next week.
“Until now we’ve had to guess how much vaccine to expect for the next week, and that’s what the governors had to do: ‘How much am I getting next week?’ This is unacceptable,” said Biden, “lives are at stake here.”
The weekly vaccine supply to states, tribes and territories will grow to a minimum of 10 million doses, up from 8.6 million.
“At least now we can do a schedule for three weeks, and we can schedule appointments and start to run on an efficient basis rather than what’s been going on,” said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“The fact that there is a plan to ramp up gives me great peace,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Of course, it is not as fast as we all want, but we are feeling better about where we are headed as a nation.”
The White House coronavirus response team also says it’s committed to making sure vaccines are given fairly.
“That means we’ll send vaccines to churches and mobile clinics and may take a couple days longer to get into people’s arms but it will also mean people of color and people in rural communities will have access too,” Andy Slavitt, Senior White House Adviser for Coronavirus response, told Currents News.
Vice President Kamala Harris received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine Wednesday, encouraging everyone to do the same when they can.