Meanwhile, Trump held a press conference where he announced a vaccine would likely be available in April… when he is no longer president.
President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that the Trump administration needs to begin urgent action to address the surge of COVID-19 in the US, “starting with an acknowledgement of how serious the current situation is.”
Biden’s statement came just before President Donald Trump made his first public appearance since officially losing the 2020 election to discuss vaccine developments from drugmaker Pfizer.
“Pfizer announced Monday that its China-virus vaccine is more than 90% effective,” Trump said, speaking from the White House rose garden. “Nobody thought they’d get to that level and we have others coming.”
So far the US has seen more than 242,200 COVID-19 related deaths and recorded more than 10 million cases in total. Trump said the vaccine should be ready for the public in April.
During the press conference, Trump had little new information to share. But he did criticize Pfizer and claimed the company was always a part of “Operation Warp Speed,” the government group tasked with coordinating a vaccine response among drugmakers.
In fact, Pfizer was not initially a part of Operation Warp Speed, and earlier this week the company clarified that they did not receive any funding for their research or development of their vaccine. Instead, after promising results, Pfizer agreed to provide $1.95 billion worth of their COVID-19 vaccine to the federal government. As a result it is expected that the vaccine will be provided to the public free of charge.
Biden said that his term does not begin until Jan. 20 and called on the Trump administration to address the current strain on hospitals and medical personnel.
“Our doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are under enormous–and growing–strain,” Biden said. “This week’s news on progress toward a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is positive, but it will be many months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”
Biden went on to call on the American people to come together and do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Today, I renew my call for every American, regardless of where they live or who they voted for, to step up and do their part on social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing to protect themselves and to protect others,” he said. “I understand it’s not easy. Together, we have the power to rein in this virus.”