President Joe Biden vowed to “shut down” the coronavirus while campaigning for office, yet three weeks into his term his plan appears to center on administering a vaccine his predecessor brought forth and wearing masks. And messaging.
As for the latter, while speaking Thursday at the National Institutes of Health, Biden indicated that masks will likely remain a part of life in America for the next year.
Sharing the stage with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, the president announced that the U.S. has contracted for enough vaccine supply to vaccinate 300 million people by the end of July, while slamming former President Donald Trump for not doing his job “in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans.”
“I had a little discussion with my friends behind me, Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci, about whether or not I should take my mask off. And the truth is, although we’re more than 10 feet away, I think it’s important that I not,” Biden opened. “It’s critically important the message — and I realize I’m speaking to a vast majority, at least, I hope I am — of the folks out here at NIH. You know that wearing this mask through the next year here can save lives — a significant numbers of lives.”
Biden then apologized if attendees couldn’t hear him “as clearly as you — maybe you should.” Mask or not, his sleepy monotone and frequent mumbling can make that a challenge on any given day.
“And, by the way, I know it’s a pain in the neck, but it’s a patriotic responsibility,” he added later abut masks. “We’re in the middle of a war with this virus. It’s a patriotic responsibility — not only if you care about your family, if you care about your fellow Americans.”
Biden on wearing masks, as he’s double-masked at NIH: “I know it’s a pain in the neck but it’s a patriotic responsibility. We’re in the middle of a war with this virus. It’s a PATRIOTIC RESPONSIBILITY.” pic.twitter.com/tHsHCSOJbK
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) February 11, 2021
Wasting little time, Biden blamed Trump for not getting the country “ready” for the massive vaccination process, referencing “federal vaccine centers” without offering any details on exactly what that means.
“We’ve only been here three weeks but we learned a great deal in those three weeks. While scientists did their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor, to be very blunt about it, did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans,” the president said. “He didn’t order enough vaccines. He didn’t mobilize enough people to administer the shots. He didn’t set up federal vaccine centers where eligible people could go and get their shots.”
“When I became president three weeks ago, America had no plan to vaccinate most of the country,” he continued. “It was a big mess. It’s going to take time to fix to be blunt with you.
The finger pointing buys Biden more time to deliver on his promise to “shut down” the virus, of course.
To everyone at the NIH — all the doctors, scientists, and researchers fighting this pandemic and saving lives — thank you from the bottom of my heart. You're truly the best America has to offer. pic.twitter.com/lLpdZSLdjX
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 12, 2021
“Just this afternoon, we signed the final contracts for 100 million more Moderna and 100 million more Pfizer vaccines,” Biden announced. “And we’re also able to move up the delivery dates with an additional 200 million vaccines to the end of July — faster than we expected.”
The U.S. reportedly now has contracts in place for 600 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“That means we’re now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July,” he added.
Considering the U.S. population is around 330 million, if Biden were a Republican the media would be reporting on him leaving 30 million Americans behind.
Instead, the media gives him credit for 26 million vaccinations being administered in his first three weeks, though that largely occurred under his predecessor’s allegedly non-existing plan.
And Biden is giving himself credit for the vaccination process ramping up over that time.
“That’s why in the first three weeks that I’ve been in office, we increased the supply of weekly vaccine shipments to the states by almost 30%,” he said.
The claim was also shared on Twitter:
When I took office three weeks ago, America didn’t have a plan or enough supplies to vaccinate most of the country. But my team got right to work, and as of today, we’ve increased weekly vaccine shipments by nearly 30% and purchased enough vaccines to vaccinate all Americans.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 12, 2021
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