Joe Biden – A Coronavirus Update

Picture of Covid vaccine

By: T. Jeffersonian

Nowadays, we see Dr. Anthony Fauci on more than a few weekend talk-shows. One of the points that Dr. Fauci typically brings up is how devastating it is for the United States to be reaching 500,000 Coronavirus deaths. Since Joe Biden became President nearly a month ago, an additional 100,000 Coronavirus deaths have been calculated to our national metric. Americans should be reminded that in  the summer of 2020 Joe Biden said, “all those people would still be alive if the President [Donald Trump] had done his job.” Donald Trump was President for 80 percent of our COVID deaths. Joe Biden has now been the President for nearly 20 percent of the COVID related deaths, and that number continues to rise. The not to be forgotten, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been in his position for 100 percent of the deaths. Coronavirus is a problem of historic magnitude, and attempting to play the “blame game” will only end with futility. Our generation has never experienced a pandemic like COVID-19, and the last to ravage our population was the Spanish Influence in 1918. We do not have time for blame. We must choose to unite, and play on the same team to defeat the enemy.

Clarification Points

As of today, in the United States 61.2 million doses of the Coronavirus vaccine have been administered. Out of the 74.9 million vaccines that have been distributed, only 82 percent have been administered. There is still some room for improvement, but the efficiency rates are performing much better than 30 days ago. We are giving roughly 1.7 million vaccines per day and the number of daily doses being administered is increasing. The number of diagnosed Coronavirus cases has fallen by 67-70 percent over the past three weeks. Among other factors, vaccinations, social distancing, and masking are all reasonable explanations for the drop in diagnosed cases. This is good news for the United States. 

In early December 2020, President Biden pledged that his administration would deliver 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days. This estimates to 100,000 million doses given by April 21, 2021.  Just two days ago, President Biden increased his original pledge to 150 million doses administered in the first 100 days. It now appears that we will in fact achieve the larger number.

In order to achieve national herd immunity through Coronavirus immunization, Dr. Fauci has previously said that we need anywhere from 70-85 percent of the U.S. population to be vaccinated.  Currently, only double dose vaccinations are approved for use by the FDA. This means that at minimum, 660 million doses must be administered in order for the United States to even come close to achieving herd immunity. This weekend, Dr. Fauci reported that the United States will have 600 million doses available in July 2021 and that by that time, everyone should be able to receive a vaccination. 

When asked if only one vaccine dose will suffice, Dr. Fauci has said that more studies need to be carried out in order to ensure that one vaccine dose can be effective. Dr. Fauci reported that one vaccine is looking enormously effective for those people who have already had the Coronavirus, but still more investigation must be completed in order to prove efficacy. Johnson and Johnson Inc has developed a single dose vaccine that is currently awaiting Food and Drug Administration approval for distribution.  If and when a single dose is approved, herd immunity will be able to be achieved even faster with another vaccine option in the arsenal.

In addition to the original virus strain, there are currently two other Coronavirus mutations – The United Kingdom variation and the South African variation – with which we must also contend. Dr. Fauci reports that as early as March, 2021, the UK variant, known as the 117 variant, might become the most commonly observed strain of the Coronavirus in the United States. Thankfully, though both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are proving to be effective against the UK variant. However, these vaccines are only approximately 50 percent effective in preventing South African variant. The South African variant is not currently dominant in the United States but if it does become widespread here, we will have to develop a vaccine that specifically combats it. Dr. Fauci reported that we are already doing preliminary and early experiments to develop a vaccine to address the South African variant. 

There is also a growing drive to get students back to in-person learning. Over the past two weeks, the President, the Vice-President, the Press Secretary, and Dr. Fauci have all said different things regarding returning children to in-person schooling. Readers should be reminded again that prior to the Presidential election in the summer and fall 2020, Democrats were reluctant to allow our youth to return to school, unless conditions in the country improved. In December 2020, after securing the election, National and local level Democrats then began to work toward returning our children to in-person learning. As early as January 27, 2021, the new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, using Trump era data, said that teachers do not need to be vaccinated for Covid-19 before schools can safely reopen.

All of our current leaders recognize that teachers should be given higher prioritization for the Coronavirus vaccine in order to best guarantee the safest conditions in school possible, but all recognize that schools can resume in-person learning without teachers fully vaccinated as a condition for reopening. Schools have been and are still being deemed as safe. Currently only 47 percent of the nation’s K-8 education has returned to in-person learning, and only 33 percent of the nation’s high schools have returned to in-person learning.

The problem is that our children, especially our high school aged children, will be amongst the last categories of our population to receive the vaccines. High school aged students between ages 14-18, especially those between ages 16-18 are at higher risk because they are on the cusp of increasing vulnerability to the Coronavirus infection. As previously stated, Dr. Fauci reported that by July 2021, every person in the United States should have the ability to be vaccinated which includes our children.  However, Dr. Fauci is also warning that schools may not fully resume normal full-time, in-person attendance when school starts in the Fall 2021.

Over the past two weeks, we have seen Dr. Fauci make connections between the $1.9 trillion stimulus package with a successful campaign to defeat the Coronavirus. Although he often touts the relevance of the Stimulus package to our success against COVID-19, he does not talk on the negative aspects of the relief bill. The $1.9 trillion stimulus will increase our federal deficit to upwards of $4.8 trillion, but there is a $400 billion dollar section dedicated to Coronavirus vaccinations, distribution, testing, and contact tracing. Specifically, within the $400 billion there is a $160 million national vaccination program which would allow the country to maintain herd immunity in the quickest way.

The United States will likely achieve herd immunity through immunization by November 2021, but the rest of the world may not achieve herd immunity for upwards of seven years! Two days ago, President Biden announced a total of $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the vaccine alliance attempting to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries. COVAX funding would not affect the program to vaccinate U.S. residents.

The funding for the COVAX program – which is co-run by the World Health Organization – includes an initial contribution of $2 billion that Congress appropriated in December 2020. That funding should be used up by the end of February, 2021. In addition, Biden will pledge another $2 billion through 2021 and 2022. The first $500 million of that pledge will be available rather quickly to help spur other donations. If there are vaccines left over from the U.S. domestic vaccination program, the Biden Administration plans to look for ways to donate our excess vaccines to the COVAX program.

Thoughts and Recommendations

            Two weeks ago, I was offered the opportunity to get a Pfizer vaccination. I am on what I refer to as the sandwich list meaning I feel that I am designated amongst the first persons eaten during an apocalypse. I am unsure why I was offered the vaccine given my status. I did not ask for it. Possibly it was a vaccine that was about to expire. Possibly the expiration date was approaching. I do not know, but I took it.

After nearly one year of uncertainty, frustration, worry, masking, social distancing, and feeling generally powerless and questioning hope, getting the vaccine made me feel hopeful again, it made me feel optimistic, and it made me feel like I was tangibly contributing toward the defeat of Coronavirus. I encourage each and every American citizen to take the vaccine when it comes your time.  Be the one reason that breaks the kill chain in your neighborhood and in your family. Take it.

            The vaccines we are taking were developed and were originally distributed by the Trump Administration. This weekend, Dr. Fauci softly refuted his current Democratic bosses who are saying that they inherited nothing and that all had to be restarted from scratch. The Biden Administration claims that they had to start from scratch is a political lie. The Biden Administration is still sorting out distribution, and distribution rates are getting better. They are distributing Trump vaccines and they cannot escape that fact. 

            We should expect society to gradually reopen and our economy to accelerate between now and the Fall 2021. We will not be back to full social and economic capacity until around November 2021.  By November 2021, we should expect our children to be vaccinated and schools completely back in full session. Masking and social distancing may be a persisting echo for months following the last recorded infections, so around January 2022, we hopefully will be universally mask free inside the United States.

Conclusion         

    2020 and 2021 are the first two chapters in a long book. Once this version of Coronavirus is defeated, we must prepare for the next mutation. We will fight Coronavirus every year with new annual vaccine boosters. The South African variant vaccine must be perfected and readied for distribution. We have seen how the original strain and the UK variants have spread. We must plan to fight the South African variant, as it is undoubtedly going to spread and possibly have further mutations. We cannot afford to wait until it gets to the United States. There will be other mutations for years to come.

            The United States must also stop simply relying on money as the answer. We must instead make new results by sending our people, our know-how, our personal generosity, and our courage. The world needed a policeman but we have been reluctant to serve that function due to the cost in American lives and money. We do not want to trample on others’ freedoms and we do not want them to trample on ours. The world needs a doctor. The United States is an arsenal for democracy. Now we must embrace the role as an arsenal of medicine. Future vaccines going into global arms should be American vaccines.

Immigration policies should be made more permissive so that foreign medical students can come to the United States to be educated in the United States. The masks, the gloves, gowns, and face shields that the world wears should be made in the United States. The $4 billion being allocated to COVAX and the WHO should be given to American companies. These American companies, with funding, can become the world distributor and creator of the Coronavirus vaccine. The world looks to the United States when the human race, our very species, is threatened. When our species is threatened, the world does not look to the United Nations….it looks to the UNITED NATION…the United States.  We need to accept our role and our responsibility to protect our citizens and the entire human race.