U.S. detects first case of COVID-19 variant as Biden offers gloomy vaccine outlook | Inquirer News
Close  

U.S. detects first case of COVID-19 variant as Biden offers gloomy vaccine outlook

/ 06:53 AM December 30, 2020
coloradocovid-19

Travelers wearing protective face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk after departing a flight at the airport in Denver, Colorado, U.S., November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt

WILMINGTON, Del./WASHINGTON  -The first known U.S. case of a highly infectious coronavirus variant was detected in Colorado on Tuesday, and President-elect Joe Biden said that it could take years for most Americans to be vaccinated for the virus at current distribution rates.

“Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said on Twitter Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Biden’s prediction of a grim winter appeared aimed at lowering public expectations that the pandemic will be over soon after he takes office on Jan. 20, while also sending a message to Congress that his new administration wants to significantly increase spending to expedite vaccine distribution, expand testing and provide funding to states to help reopen schools.

joe biden

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Biden, a Democrat, said some 2 million people have been vaccinated, well short of the 20 million that outgoing Republican President Donald Trump had promised by the end of the year. Biden defeated Trump in a November election.

FEATURED STORIES

“As I long feared and warned, the effort to distribute and administer the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” the Democrat added. At the current rate, “it’s going to take years, not months, to vaccinate the American people,” Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware.

Shortly after his remarks, Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis announced on Twitter that his state had discovered a case of a highly infectious coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the United Kingdom.

Biden’s goal of ensuring that 100 million shots are administered by the end of his 100th day in office would mean “ramping up five to six times the current pace to 1 million shots a day,” Biden said, noting that it would require Congress to approve additional funding.

“Even with that improvement, even if we boost the speed of vaccinations to 1 million shots a day, it will still take months to have the majority of the United States’ population vaccinated,” he said. He predicted that the situation may not improve until “well into March.”

Biden also said he plans to invoke the Defense Production Act, which grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security or other reasons, to “accelerate the making of materials needed for the vaccine.”

Trump has himself invoked the law during the pandemic.

To reopen schools safely, Biden said Congress will need to provide funding for such things as additional transportation so students can maintain social distancing and improved ventilation in school buildings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Congress also needs help make COVID-19 tests more easily available and help pay for protective equipment for healthcare workers, Biden added.

Earlier in the day, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received a COVID-19 vaccination live on television in a bid to boost confidence in the inoculation even while warning it will be months before it is available to all.

Registered Nurse Patricia Cummings gives U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at United Medical Center in Washington, U.S., December 29, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

gsg

Subscribe to our daily newsletter


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Biden, COVID-19, Trump, vaccine, variant
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.