The “second wave” of COVID-19 has been causing a tsunami of deaths and new cases in the United States. Last week was particularly painful with nearly 3,000 deaths in a single day and more than 220,000 new cases. Americans seem exhausted from practicing social distancing and the precautions necessary for basic protection against the virus. On the other hand, states where lack of caution has been the primary factor in the spread of the virus, are seeing cases skyrocketing and hospitals becoming increasingly full of new patients in serious condition.
In the sea of difficulties that the country has been experiencing, great and positive news has brought a little hope for millions of Americans. This week, Pfizer’s vaccine will begin to be given to health care workers and people most vulnerable to the virus. Pfizer’s plants in Michigan and Washington are producing at full speed, day and night, so the first round of 40 million doses can be available as quickly as possible.
One of the greatest challenges is logistics, as the vaccine needs to be held at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Even with the good news, President Donald Trump has not changed his narrative to capitalize upon the vaccine’s distribution.
For him, the distribution at this time was too late to have any impact on the election. His view is that the Food and Drug Administration delayed the release of the vaccine (which happened just this past Friday) and this may have been done on purpose to affect the election.
Of course, there is no evidence that the FDA delayed the analysis of the vaccine simply to hurt the current American president in the race against the winner, Joe Biden.
The news of the vaccine will have a very positive psychological effect on the country’s population and economy. On the eve of another robust stimulus package, which is still under discussion in Washington between Democrats and Republicans, 2021 should begin with another powerful stimulus to the economy in addition to the vaccination occurring en masse throughout the country. This will bring confidence to investors, to the population that should return to being consumers (although at lower levels than pre-pandemic) and to the government, which will focus on managing distribution and containing cases, which will continue to rise.
Moderna’s vaccine, manufactured entirely by the United States, should be available in the coming weeks. Its approval still depends on the FDA, but everything indicates that this should happen soon. With two vaccines available and the arrival of AstraZeneca’s doses in early 2021, the United States will be able to move forward with the challenging process of immunization.
For Biden, this is excellent news. He certainly would not want to be under pressure from voters for the FDA to approve the vaccines soon. With the approvals still occurring during the Trump administration, it will be up to Biden to handle distribution logistics with the states. Given the good distribution capacity and hospital infrastructure in the vast majority of American states, this duty will not represent an immense difficulty for Biden, as the role of governors will be key in this process.