Joe Biden has pledged to distribute “100 million vaccines” within the “first 100 days” of his presidency.
Biden, who will succeed Donald Trump as US president in January, was speaking in introducing his pandemic response team. He said Americans should wear masks for 100 days to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and that he would make it mandatory on public transit and in federal buildings.
“In 100 days we can turn the tide of disease and change life in America for the better,” he said, adding, “Whatever your policy or your point of view, hide for 100 days. ”Biden also said he believes the virus could be well enough contained to allow the “majority” of schools to be reopened in his first 100 days as president.
The death toll in the United States from the coronavirus has climbed to an average of more than 2,200 per day, matching the peak seen in April. More than 283,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, and the average number of daily cases has passed 200,000 for the first time.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has threatened to use the Defense Production Act to ensure Americans are first in line for coronavirus vaccines produced in the United States.
The US president was speaking at a vaccine development and distribution summit, where he signed an executive order to ensure that vaccines purchased by the United States are used there before being sent elsewhere.
The Defense Production Law was passed in 1950 and allows the President to expand industrial production of materials or products key to national security.
Trump said: “If necessary… we will invoke the Defense Production Act, but we don’t think it will be necessary.
“If that’s the case, it’s a very powerful act, as you know, because we’ve used it with great success. ”
Biden’s team has not been invited to the summit, despite the fact that they will handle most of the vaccine distribution effort.
Trump, meanwhile, still seemed to be grappling with the fact that he lost the November election.
When asked why no team from Biden had been invited, he said: ‘We’re going to have to see who’s next administration because we’ve won in these swing states and there have been terrible things, that happened. But whatever the next. the administration will really benefit from what we have been able to do.
“Hopefully the next administration will be the Trump administration. ”
The United States has yet to give the go-ahead for widespread use of a coronavirus vaccine, but Pfizer’s shot (the one that has been deployed United Kingdom) should be approved this week.