US vaccination drive offers glimmer of hope - GulfToday

US vaccination drive offers glimmer of hope

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Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The US has undertaken a full-frontal drive to vaccinate its citizens across the country. This is because many Americans have almost reached a breaking point because of the pandemic.

This is because “I see enormous pain in this country, a lot of folks out of work, a lot of folks going hungry,” Biden said in a White House speech.

Biden said he has to “act fast” to push a huge new economic relief package through Congress, even without Republican support, to help the distressed American nationals.

As of February 5, there have been over 450,000 deaths in the US alone due to the pandemic.

Statistics show that more than 153,000 residents of the country’s nursing homes and assisted living centres have died of COVID-19, accounting for 36 per cent of the US pandemic death toll. Although experts say the vaccination rollout may be contributing to the drop in cases, other factors are likely playing a larger role. And they caution that threats are still looming, including new strains of the virus.

Biden said he wanted bipartisan support for the $1.9 trillion package, which will finance the struggling national coronavirus vaccine rollout and provide economic aid for Americans, including $1,400 in stimulus checks.

The problem is he is facing a roadblock from the Republicans. “I would like to be doing it with the support of Republicans... but they are just not willing to go as far as I think we have to go.”

“We can reduce suffering in this country,” Biden said. “I truly believe real help is on the way.”

The military has stepped in to galvanise the drive to vaccinate Americans across the country.

The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centres in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Two of the five new military teams will go to centres opening in California. Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt says military personnel will arrive at those centres in a little over a week. Three additional centres are expected to be announced soon.

In the meantime, the Biden administration is exploring every option for increasing manufacturing of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is under regulatory review, and said on Friday that currently expected levels of early doses were less than hoped.

The White House has invoked the Defence Production Act to help Pfizer Inc ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production and that “every option” was on the table to produce more Johnson & Johnson vaccines should it be authorised.

It will also use the wartime powers to increase at-home COVID-19 tests, and make more surgical gloves in the United States, officials said at a Friday media briefing.

Tensions are running high in some state capitols over coronavirus precautions after this year’s legislative sessions began with a COVID-19  outbreaks. At least 40 state lawmakers in roughly one-third of the states who already have reportedly fallen ill with the virus this year.  Unemployment agencies across the country were bombarded with so many claims during the pandemic that many struggled to distinguish the correct from the criminal. Simple tax forms are now revealing the extent of the identity theft that made state-run unemployment offices lucrative targets for fraud after millions of people lost their jobs.

Coronavirus cases have dropped at US nursing homes and other long-term care facilities over the past few weeks. The dip offers a glimmer of hope that health officials attribute to the start of vaccinations, an easing of the post-holiday surge and better prevention, among other reasons.

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