The world has recorded over 100 million cases of COVID-19. Global deaths now top 2.1 million. In the U.S., January is already the deadliest month since the start of the pandemic, with at least 80,000 lives lost. President Biden took new steps Tuesday to ramp up the rollout of vaccines, including the purchase of 200 million more doses; half of these will come from Moderna, the other half from Pfizer-BioNTech. Weekly vaccine supplies to states and tribes will also be increased. Officials from the Biden administration walked back the president’s statement earlier this week that any American who wanted the shot could get it by the spring, instead saying the end of summer was a more likely timeline. This is Biden speaking Tuesday.
President Joe Biden: “The brutal truth is it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated. Months. In the next few months, masks, not vaccines, are the best defense against COVID-19.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools can safely reopen with precautions in place such as mask-wearing and social distancing. The CDC says local authorities would also need to impose more stringent restrictions elsewhere in the community, including indoor dining, to keep overall infection rates down.