When the 46th President of the United States first sat behind the Resolute Desk in January, he made tackling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic one of his main priorities, planning to get as many Americans vaccinated as soon as possible. And by all accounts, he has not only kept his word but done so just 58 days after his inauguration and a whole month before the initially proposed 100m vaccination target.
And while this might be cause for Biden and his administration to start high fiving each other, wait….. scratch that, fist-bumping each other, the country has to be careful to not celebrate what might become a false dawn if people suddenly drop their guard and fail to continue following the guidelines. Texas and Mississippi have already thrown the CDC guidelines in the trash and it could be literally fatal for thousands of people if other states follow suit.
Biden, however, appears to be fully aware of just how significant this moment is without doing a George Bush and plastering a ‘mission accomplished’ banner across the front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when he gave an update about the vaccination program saying now was a time for “optimism” but not “relaxation”.
The added caveat of reminding citizens to maintain the advised health measures, such as social distancing, mask wearing and washing their hands, has truly bolstered the idea that Biden is not just using this news to gain political capital but is actually listening to his coronavirus task force led by Dr Anthony Fauci. Voters seem to agree, as his approval rating sits at 56% as of the writing of this article.
And Biden is right to advise caution as just in the past week alone, fourteen states, despite the roll out of the vaccine, have seen a significant rise in infection rates. So concerning is this recent spike, that Dr Fauci was quoted saying about these numbers that it is “much too high to be declaring victory”. The unfettered events that have taken place over Spring Break in places like Miami Beach have also raised fears that further spikes are just around the corner.
Despite promoting this much needed $1.9trn pandemic relief package, setting goals and actually reaching them, Biden and his team are still coming under heavy criticism from across the aisle. Republicans unanimously voted against the relief bill in Congress, claiming that the money was in fact a veiled “bail out” package for Democratic-controlled states like New York and California.
Ever since his defeat in the Presidential election and the events of Jan 6. Trump has remained uncharacteristically quiet. However, Trump was quick to claim his administration was responsible for a “modern day medical miracle” and that Biden’s team was simply implementing a plan that the former President had already put in place. This statement wildly contradicts the Biden team’s assertion that there was no federal plan for distributing the vaccine in place when they entered the White House.
And the contradictions begin to pile up if you just take a moment and look at the last 12 months. Trump consistently played down the threat of the virus, openly mocked people wearing masks, contradicted experts and even pushed the anti-malarial medication Hydroxychloroquine, which was quickly withdrawn as a possible treatment for COVID‑19. According to many pundits, Trump’s disastrous handling of the pandemic likely cost him a second term.
While Trump continues to trumpet his spurious achievements, Biden and his administration continue to set goals and meet them. Such is the growing confidence in the White House, despite still recommending caution, Biden was bold enough to suggest that Americans may be able to have a close to normal 4th of July celebrations and his team not only suggest that 200 million Americans could be vaccinated by the president’s 100th day but that by the end of May there will be enough supply for every adult in the U.S.
While no one has a crystal ball, the fact that according to federal data, 2.5 million Americans are now being vaccinated on a daily basis, shows that Biden’s campaign commitment to making fighting the pandemic his number one priority has indeed come to fruition. And although we might see a fourth wave hit the country, the President’s application of “science and good management” have left many with an optimistic view of the rest of 2021. Only time will tell.