Biden says masks 'best defense' against coronavirus even as vaccination campaign ramps up
There should be more than one reporter asking tough questions to Biden administration: Media critic
Steve Krakauer, editor at Fourth Watch, says ‘it shouldn’t be contingent’ on one reporter to ask Biden tough questions.
President Biden said Tuesday that masks are “the best defense against COVID-19” in the coming months as his administration acquires a sufficient supply of vaccine to innoculate the majority of Americans.
Biden revealed the federal government will purchase an additional 100 million doses of vaccine each from Pfizer and Moderna as part of its effort to ramp up the unprecedented vaccination drive. Even with the acquisition of more vaccine supplies, Biden warned that distribution will take time and other precautions, such as wearing masks, should remain a priority for Americans.
“The brutal truth is, it’s going to take months before we can the majority of Americans vaccinated – months,” Biden said. “In the next few months, masks, not vaccines, are the best defense against COVID-19. Experts say that wearing masks from now just until April would save 50,000 lives that otherwise would pass away if we don’t wear these masks.”
Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office requiring masks to be worn on federal land. He has repeatedly called on governors to impose statewide mandates until the pandemic is under control.
Between its existing supply and additional purchases, the federal government will have enough doses for 300 million Americans by the early fall, according to Biden. The administration plans to increase the distribution of vaccine doses in states to at least 10 million doses per week, up from 8.6 million under the current plan.
In addition, states will receive a “three-week forecast” on what to expect in terms of supply.
“We will both increase the supply in the short-term by more than 15% and give our states and local partners more certainty about when deliveries will arrive,” Biden said. “These two steps are going to increase our prospects of hitting or exceeding, God willing, the ambitious goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.”
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Biden credited the “prior administration” as well as the scientific community for their efforts facilitating the development of viable vaccines. At the same time, the president said the Trump administration was uncooperative during the transition and noted the vaccine program inherited from his predecessor was “in worse shape than we anticipated.”
More than 424,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 to date, according to Johns Hopkins University’s database. The death toll is expected to surpass 500,000 by the end of February.
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