Viewpoints: Pros, Cons Of Biden’s Vaccination Plan; 100 Million Doses A Day Falls Short
Editorial pages focus on these pandemic topics and others.
Los Angeles Times:
Finally, A President With A COVID Plan
If there is a single day that marks the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., it would be Jan. 21, 2020, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it had confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus on American soil. The following day, President Trump, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brushed off the threat from the then-unnamed virus with the type of willful carelessness that defined his government’s approach to the pandemic that would soon rear its ugly head. “It’s one person coming in from China,” he told CNBC. “We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Needless to say, it wasn’t fine. (1/22)
The Washington Post:
Biden’s Covid-19 Strategy Should Be Applauded. Here’s Where It Can Go Further.
Less than 24 hours after taking office, President Biden has released a national strategy to combat covid-19. In firmly establishing the federal government’s leadership role in pandemic response, this action is a 180-degree reversal of the Trump administration’s approach of denial, deflection and capitulation. The Biden strategy is to be applauded for its comprehensiveness. Where I wish it went further is with its boldness. (Leana S. Wen, 1/21)
The Washington Post:
100 Million Is Too Few. Biden Should Aim Higher On Vaccinations.
What is the first thing Joe Biden should do as president? He has many competing priorities. He must deal with the pandemic, restart the economy, reestablish U.S. credibility on the world stage and compete effectively with China. It turns out there is one thing he can do that will address all these problems at once: vaccinate all Americans as quickly as possible. Biden’s current goal of vaccinating 1 million people a day is far too modest. He should double that, doing whatever it takes to achieve herd immunity for the United States by late April or early May. This would instantly boost the United States’ standing and give the president leverage with everyone from the Republicans to the Europeans and the Chinese. (Fareed Zakaria, 1/21)
New York Post:
Biden’s COVID War Plan Is A Dud
President Biden released his COVID war plan Thursday, promising “help is on the way.” Alas, it’s far from clear the strategy will meet the challenge. The 198-page plan vows to “spare no effort to ensure Americans can get vaccinated quickly, effectively and equitably.” Washington will spur manufacturers to boost vaccine production, via the Defense Production Act, and target “supply shortfalls.” The new prez signed several executive orders to launch the program. That’s all great, but Biden’s goal of 100 million vaccines in 100 days, or 1 million a day, as Betsy McCaughey noted Thursday, won’t create herd immunity by July. For that, the nation needs to vaccinate at least 1.8 million people daily. And reaching even 1 million a day is far from certain. (1/21)
The Washington Post:
Can Americans Follow Their Own Covid Vaccine Rules?
Some people want it bad — so bad that they’re hovering in the supermarket aisle closest to the pharmacy, pretending to contemplate an array of child-friendly shampoos but actually awaiting the late-in-the-day announcement of leftover, soon-to-spoil doses of coronavirus vaccine. Some people don’t want it at all, not because they don’t believe it works but because they don’t believe they deserve it when so many others remain vulnerable. Those of us who don’t have vaccine envy have vaccine shame. But can we really tell what’s wrong from what’s right amid the mad rush for distribution? (Molly Roberts, 1/21)
Vaccine Distribution Is A Mess. Call In The National Guard
As we continue to witness the immense suffering that results from the illness, isolation, and deaths from COVID-19 in our patients, and in our own families, there is no question: We must move faster. A wartime-like focus on vaccination is needed as the country struggles with less than 40% of distributed dose administered. Vaccine administration, not supply, is the current bottleneck, and it is time for states to call in experts in logistics and to deploy the National Guard. (1/21)
Biden's Covid Policies Could Be Good For Florida
Gov. DeSantis should give it a rest. Joe Biden wasn’t even president yet, but Florida’s governor already knew — knew! — that the soon-to-be-president’s plan to add FEMA’s organizational muscle to the nation’s underwhelming vaccine roll-out is a loser of an idea. A “big mistake,” DeSantis called it Tuesday. Now, the governor needs to give it a chance. Unless DeSantis can point to what has gone spectacularly right while the coronavirus marched across the state — aided and abetted by the governor himself — it’s past time for a president to take charge and who’s committed to taking responsibility for subduing this disease. During an interview with WFXE-FM in Columbus, Georgia, according to The New York Times, Biden outlined a “fundamentally new approach, establishing thousands of federally run or federally supported community vaccination centers of various size located in places like high school gymnasiums and NFL stadiums.” (1/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Regeneron’s Antibody Miracle For Covid-19
Last week the Trump administration agreed to a $2.6 billion purchase for 1.25 million new doses from Regeneron. If the Biden administration wants to make its mark on the pandemic, something more than repeating simplistic bromides like mask mandates, it should double down on that contract. Experts like former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb say fortifying supplies of the antibody serums, as well as deregulating their distribution and setting up infusion centers in hospitals, should be a top national priority. My wife and I heartily agree. (David Asman, 10/21)
New England Journal of Medicine:
Testing In A Pandemic — Improving Access, Coordination, And Prioritization
The moment a new lethal virus begins spreading in human populations, public health authorities and the communities they serve enter a race against time to prevent a major outbreak. Success depends on tracking viral spread rapidly from its early stages to identify people who are infected and protect those who aren’t. With SARS-CoV-2, the United States lost that race. Nearly a year into the U.S. outbreak, the national case count exceeds 20 million. Most of the country is still not doing enough testing. When tests are performed, the organizations processing them often fail to achieve fast enough turnaround times (ideally, 1 to 2 days) to permit effective contact-tracing efforts. On average, Americans wait 4 days to receive a test result; 10% of Americans have waited 10 days or more. And testing is beset by racial disparities. Many people are now asking why these failures persist. The answer is twofold. (Yolanda Botti-Lodovico, Eric Rosenberg, and Pardis C. Sabeti, 1/21)
Xavier Becerra Nomination – Here's Why Senate Should Reject Culture Warrior For HHS Post
Joe Biden campaigned on pledges to unite the country and defeat the pandemic; he continues to stress these twin priorities. But his nominee to be secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, is a partisan culture warrior who undermines both pledges. The Senate ought to reject Becerra’s nomination. First off, Becerra isn’t qualified for the job. Facing a once-in-a-century pandemic, one might think that Biden would nominate, say, a doctor or a seasoned health-care executive to oversee the federal response and vaccine distribution. Donald Trump’s two HHS Secretaries fit that description. (Sen. Tom Cotton, 1/21)