After President Joe Biden exceeded his original goal of having 100 million Americans vaccinated by his 100th day in office – which will not arrive until late April – he increased the stake to 200 million by then. The President made the announcement during his first press conference, held today.
The new target comes as some states have begun to relax or lift the coronavirus restriction, despite the fact that the more transmissible and deadly British 1.1.7 variant is spreading in parts of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 7,501 cases of the UK variant nationwide. Florida (1,042) and Michigan (986) were the leading states.
The vaccines available are effective against the British variant. However, the biggest surge in infection rates is worrying. “When you look at the increased infectivity of this variant, it is remarkable what we see in relation to transmission from children and children to adults,” said Michael Osterholm, PhD, epidemiologist and director of the Center for Research and Policy on Infectious Diseases of the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, Beckers Hospital Review said.
To date, 87.3 million Americans (23.3%) have received one dose of vaccine, while 46.4 million (14.3%) are fully vaccinated. Experts estimate that herd immunity – when enough people are vaccinated to stop the virus from spreading – is between 80% and 90%.
Robert Calandra is an award-winning journalist and author who has written extensively on health and medicine. His work has been published in national and regional magazines and newspapers.