The United States has reported its first case of the new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the UK as Joe Biden warned that the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout was “far behind” the schedule.
Jared polisGovernor of Colorado said on Tuesday that the coronavirus variant was detected in a man in his 20s who had not recently traveled.
The development came just days after Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said he expected new strain of coronavirus was present in the United States.
“There is a lot we don’t know about this new variant of Covid-19,” Mr Polis said, “but British scientists are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious.”
Mr Biden said the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19 was flawed as the United States faced a “very difficult period” in the weeks and months to come – “perhaps the most difficult of this whole pandemic ”.
“I know it’s hard to hear, but it’s the truth,” the US president-elect said in Wilmington, Delaware. “Things will get worse before they get better.”
Mr. Biden said the Trump administration vaccine deployment was not progressing as quickly as the administration had predicted.
“The Trump administration has suggested that 20 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of December,” Biden said. “There are only a few days left in December, we have only vaccinated a few million so far. “
He added, “At the rate the immunization program is advancing now, it will take years, not months, to immunize the American people.”
Mr Biden said American hospitals “were stretched beyond their capacity” even before a anticipated peak in post-vacation hospitalizations, when many Americans chose to travel despite health officials’ recommendations not to.
The president-elect said the country may not see improvement in the pandemic “until March”, adding that it would take time for the new administration’s Covid-19 response plan “to produce visible results ”.
Once he took office on Jan.20, Mr Biden said he planned to use the Defense Production Act to speed up vaccine production. He said his administration would also launch a public education campaign to demonstrate vaccine safety by minority communities where there had been hesitation about vaccines in the past.
The inbound administration has set a goal of delivering 100 million vaccines within the first 100 days. Mr Biden said that goal would require additional funding from Congress and an increase in distribution to five to six times the current level.
“But remember,” he said, “even with this improvement, even if we increase the speed of vaccination to 1 million shots per day, it will still take months for the majority of the country to be vaccinated. “