U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic briefing at the White House in Washington, August 10, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump said Friday the U.S. will manufacture enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every American by April.
He said the U.S. will have at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year and “likely much more than that.”
“Hundreds of millions of doses will be available every month and we expect to have enough vaccines for every American by April and again I’ll say even at that later stage, the delivery will go as fast as it comes,” Trump said at a White House press briefing.
Trump’s forecast is at odds with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said earlier this week that the U.S. wouldn’t start vaccinating people until November or December at the earliest and it would be limited. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said a vaccine wouldn’t be widely available until the summer or early fall of next year.
Trump said “massive amounts” of the vaccine “will be delivered through our great military and the general is one of our best and he’s ready to go.”
“We are again very advanced on the vaccine, we think that sometime in the very near future we’ll have it,” he said. “We’re… I would say I think I can say years ahead of scheduled what it would be if it were an administration other than this one.”
There are currently three drugmakers backed by the U.S. in late-stage testing for potential vaccines. Earlier this week, the CDC outlined a sweeping plan to make a vaccine free to all Americans if and when one is approved for public use.
Public health experts have previously said that most Americans likely won’t get immunized with a coronavirus vaccine until the middle of next year.
Whichever vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, it will likely be in short supply once it’s cleared for public distribution, medical experts warn. The vaccine will likely require two doses at varying intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring enough needles, syringes and bottles needed for immunizations.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Family members in personal protective equipment (PPE) kits along with other relatives bury a person who died of Covid-19, at Jadid Qabristan Ahle – Islam graveyard, near ITO, on September 12, 2020 in New Delhi.
Mayank Makhija | NurPhoto | Getty Images
The World Health Organization warned Friday the coronavirus is “not going away,” noting that it’s still killing about 50,000 people a week.
“That is not where we want to be,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said of Covid-19 deaths during a press conference at the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “It’s not where the Northern Hemisphere wants to be going into the winter season. It’s not where developing countries want to be with their health services under nine months of pressure.
Ryan said the virus still has a “long way to burn.” WHO officials said they are beginning to see “worrying trends” in the number of Covid-19 cases, ICU admissions and hospitalizations in Northern Hemisphere as it enters its colder seasons.
“It has not burned out, it is not burning out, it is not going away,” Ryan said, “and especially for those countries entering their winter season in terms of people coming together more indoors. There’s a lot of work to do in order to avoid amplification events, drive down transmission of this epidemic, protect the opening of schools and protect the most vulnerable in our society from severe disease and death.”
European health officials have warned for weeks about a rising number of Covid-19 cases. More than half of European countries have reported a 10% or greater increase in cases in the past two weeks and, of those, seven have seen newly reported cases increase more than twofold, WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said Thursday in a press briefing.
In the U.S., health officials are reporting about 39,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University data. Covid-19 cases were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average to smooth out daily reporting, in at least 34 states as well as Washington D.C. as of Friday, according to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins data, an increase from eight states at the same time last week.
U.S. health officials fear the outbreak could get worse as the nation enters the fall and winter seasons. Health officials have repeatedly warned that they are preparing to battle two bad viruses circulating later this year as the Covid-19 outbreak runs into flu season. Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said daily new cases were “unacceptably high” in the U.S. this close to the fall.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the Covid-19 pandemic, noted Friday that global health officials have “literally hundreds” of seroepidemiology studies ongoing that examine the extent of coronavirus infection in different populations. The studies indicate that “a majority of the world’s population is susceptible to infection from this virus,” she said.
“That means the virus has a long way to go,” Kerkhove said.
Kerkhove said it’s “absolutely critical” for countries to have a strong plan for when outbreak arise.
“What’s really important right now is for countries in their response is that they break down the problem, they break down the outbreak into the lowest administrative level as possible as the data will allow,” she said. “It’s not just about case numbers. These are incredibly important and we need to be able to track these trends but we also need to look at hospitalizations, we need to look at ICU occupancy and how many people are being admitted into intensive care.”
Texas pushes forward with business reopenings as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations slide, Gov. Abbott says
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the US Army Corps of Engineers and the state are putting up a 250-bed field hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas during a press conference at the Texas State Capitol March 29, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
Tom Fox | Getty Images
Texas is allowing more businesses, including retail stores, gyms and restaurants, to push forward with reopening plans after a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the summer have started to decline.
Abbott said the state has been divided into 22 regions where officials will monitor hospital capacity and coronavirus cases. In 19 of the 22 regions where hospitalizations related to Covid-19 are now less than 15% of all hospitalizations, more businesses that have been allowed to reopen at 50% capacity will be allowed to increase to 75% capacity beginning Monday, Abbott said.
That includes “all retail stores, all restaurants, all office buildings, all manufacturing, all museums and libraries and all gyms,” he said. Effective immediately, hospitals in those regions are allowed to resume elective procedures. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be allowed to reopen for visitations beginning Sept. 24 as long as they don’t have a coronavirus outbreak, he said.
“Since late July, the spread of Covid-19 has steadily and significantly declined. The number of new cases and new hospitalizations have been cut by more than two-thirds. Just yesterday we had the lowest number of hospitalizations in the past three months,” Abbott said.
The three regions not allowed to move forward with their reopenings — the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Victoria — are located in the southern part of the state. Bars will remain closed for all regions as officials try to find ways to reopen them while ensuring the coronavirus transmission can be contained, Abbott said.
“Covid does still exist and most Texans remain susceptible,” Abbott said during a press conference. “If we fully reopen Texas without limits, without safe practices, it can lead to an unsustainable increase in Covid that would require the possibility of being forced to ratchet back down.”
This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.