President-elect Joe Biden criticized the Trump administration on Tuesday for the pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and predicted that “things will get worse before they get better” regarding the pandemic.
“We have to be honest – the weeks and months ahead will be very hard, very hard on our nation. Perhaps the most difficult of this whole pandemic, ”Biden said during his remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday.
His comments come as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 336,000 Americans, with experts warning that vacation trips and gatherings could precipitate another spike in virus cases even as the virus has already increased in states across the country.
Biden urged Americans to “pull themselves together” for the challenges ahead and predicted “things will get worse before they get better.”
He also sued the Trump administration for its vaccination efforts, warning that the project, dubbed Operation Warp Speed, is moving at a slower pace than necessary.
“As I have long feared and warned, efforts to distribute and administer the vaccine are not progressing as they should,” he said.
Earlier this month, Trump administration officials said they plan to distribute 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year. But according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control, just over 11.4 million doses have been distributed and only 2.1 million people received their first dose.
At the current rate, Biden said, “It will take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people.”
The president-elect, who takes office Jan. 20, said he had ordered his team to prepare a “much more aggressive effort, with more federal involvement and leadership, to get things back on track.”
Biden said he would “move heaven and earth to move us in the right direction.”
He set a goal of giving 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office, but said to achieve that, the pace of vaccinations would need to increase five to six times to 1 million shots per day. . Even with this rate, however, Biden acknowledged that it “will still take months to get the majority of Americans vaccinated.”
Biden has made fighting the coronavirus pandemic a central focus of his transition work. He has promised that one of his first acts as president will be to release a comprehensive coronavirus assistance bill in Congress, which will include, among other things, funding for vaccinations and expanded testing. It also has a COVID-19 task force that is working on ways to better streamline the government’s response to the pandemic and to help turn the tide of infections.
Still, Biden warned that it would take months after taking office for Americans to see a positive change in the course of the virus.
“Changing this is going to take time. We might not see any improvement until we are well in March as it will take time for our COVID response plan to produce visible progress, ”he said.
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