On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted the overall U.S. coronavirus death toll to rise to more than 500,000 by the middle of February. The CDC’s latest national forecast predicted 17,000 to 29,300 new deaths will likely be reported in the week ending Feb. 13, with between 465,000 to 508,000 COVID-19 deaths to have occurred by then.
Early in his Oval Office tenure, President Joe Biden national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks, including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. Biden has vowed to take more aggressive measures than his predecessor and is seeking to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s top adviser on the pandemic, said late last week the U.S. will again fund the World Health Organization and join its consortium aimed at sharing coronavirus vaccines fairly around the globe. The Trump administration had planned to withdraw from the WHO. The U.S. previously halted funding for the United Nations health agency.
The U.S. is averaging more than 194,000 new cases and about 3,000 deaths each day.
The administration is also depending on Congress to provide $1.9 trillion for economic relief and COVID-19 response.
Biden also is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.
The Democratic president has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin setting up vaccination centers, aiming to have 100 up and running in a month. He’s ordering the CDC to begin a program to make vaccines available through local pharmacies starting next month. And he’s mobilizing the Public Health Service to deploy to assist localities in vaccinations.
Biden has set a goal of having most K-8 schools reopen in his first 100 days, and he’s ordering the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide clear guidance for reopening schools safely.
On Wednesday, the CDC also said about half of the 31 million doses distributed to the states by the federal government have been administered so far. Only about 2 million people have received the two doses needed for maximum protection against the virus.