WASHINGTON — President Biden gave some seemingly contradictory answers Monday to questions about the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered vast segments of the economy, saying he believed mass vaccinations would start happening in spring while also warning: “We’re in this for a while.”
The commander in chief was pressed by reporters on the nation’s lagging COVID-19 vaccination efforts during a signing event for a new executive order strengthening US manufacturing.
“I am going to shut down the virus but I never said I’d do it in two months,” Biden said when pressed on his previous vows to crush the virus, which have been replaced by warnings of a dark winter and thousands more deaths.
“I said it took a long time to get here. It’s going to take a long time to beat it,” he went on.
Biden, who has only been in office five days touted the nation’s recently falling daily fatality and hospitalization rate but warned, “It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of time.”
“We’re in this for a while. I mean we’re at, what are we now, about 410,000 deaths? And there’s going to be more,” he said.
Hopes that the newly-approved COVID-19 vaccines would be a panacea to the devastating health crisis are fading fast as the nation struggles to get jabs into arms.
In initially hard hit New York, officials have been begging the Biden administration for more doses of vaccine, which the state has run out of.
Despite the enormous logistical crisis, Biden projected that anyone who wanted a shot would be able to get one by spring.
“I think by summer we’re going to be well on our way to herd immunity,” he even said before then warning that the US would still be dealing with the health crisis in “the early fall.”
Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the Biden administration had no idea how many COVID-19 jabs were in federal reserves.