The Biden administration launched its new level-with-America health briefings on Wednesday with a projection that as many as 90,000 more in the US will die from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the next four weeks — a sobering warning as the government strains to improve delivery and injection of vaccines.
The tone of the hourlong briefing was in line with President Joe Biden’s promise to be straight with the nation about the state of the outbreak that has already claimed more than 425,000 US lives.
The deaths projection wasn’t much different from what Biden himself has said, but nonetheless served as a stark reminder of the brutal road ahead.
“I know this is not news we all want to hear, but this is something we must say so we are all aware,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “If we are united in action we can turn things around.”
The new briefings, set for three times a week, are part of Biden’s attempt to rebuild trust and mobilize Americans to follow health guidance on Covid-19 and to break down public resistance to the vaccine.
Wednesday’s briefing was conducted virtually, with no shortage of technical glitches and audio gaps. Administration officials appeared on Zoom from separate locations, in keeping with the Biden administration’s efforts to model best practices for safe work habits in the pandemic.
One by one, the officials laid out administration efforts to contain the virus, speed vaccinations and bring Americans along with the effort.
Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus coordinator, said the Biden administration was examining additional ways of speeding vaccine production, a day after the president announced the US plans to provide states with enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end of summer.
But actually injecting those shots is another matter.“Most states are getting better at putting needles in arms,” Zients said. He called on Congress to swiftly pass Biden’s “American Rescue Plan.” The $1.9 trillion bill, which has given lawmakers in both parties sticker shock, includes $400 billion for measures aimed at controlling the virus, including dramatically increasing the pace of vaccination and ensuring more widespread testing. SOVEREIGNPH