While the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations have been slow to start, the U.S. has increased the number of inoculations in recent days, bringing the total dispensed shots to around four million.
The Associated Press reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci also said that President-elect Joe Biden’s vow to administer 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office is “realistic,” while dismissing Trump’s claims that U.S. COVID deaths have been inflated. “All you need to do ... is go into the trenches, go into the hospitals, go into the intensive care units and see what is happening. Those are real numbers, real people and real deaths,” Fauci told NBC’s Meet the Press.
The U.S. has seen over 350,000 virus-related deaths— the most of any country. Still, Fauci has seen “some little glimmer of hope” after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous three days, which is 500,000 average doses a day, bringing the total to about four million. He also recognized that the U.S. didn’t meet its target of shipping and distributing 20 million doses by December’s end—but he’s hopeful that by mid-January, the U.S. will be vaccinating one million people per day.
On Sunday, Trump falsely tweeted that the pandemic has been “far exaggerated” due to the CDC’s “ridiculous” methodology. He also lamented the fact that Fauci has been applauded for doing “an incredible job” when he “works for me and the Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work.”
Last week, it was revealed that the government’s vaccine effort, Operation Warp Speed, was moving at a snail’s pace, meaning it would take 10 years to vaccinate enough Americans to meet the program’s goal. The aim is to have 80 percent of the country’s population vaccinated by June 2021, but that objective will only be met if three million people take it each day. Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said the program has faced setbacks because there’s been a surge in cases and the holiday season meant that health workers had taken time off.