It has been over a year since the U.S. had its first confirmed COVID-19 case.
At the time, former President Donald Trump said it was no big deal and that, “like a miracle” this illness would just disappear. It has been over a year now and COVID-19 has not disappeared. The current death toll in the United States is well over 400,000.
The U.S. has been hit worse than most countries. The economy has taken a downward plunge. Lives have been uprooted, and many have lost their jobs.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden sent a $1.9 trillion bill to Congress. The bill will likely change before it gets passed. Biden would like to get another $1,400 to Americans and increase the child tax credit to $3,000 per child. Some arguments have gone around about whether certain people who were not eligible for the past two checks would be for the third.
Some have argued that college students and non-citizens should have a chance to obtain the check. This seems unlikely, as senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in limiting the number of people who receive stimulus checks so that they only go to those who desperately need them.
The bill would also put money towards building up infrastructure to distribute the vaccine. It would also provide funds to small businesses, keep the current unemployment program in place, aid in COVID-19 related evictions and increase testing.
Currently there are two COVID-19 vaccinations that have been approved for emergency use in the United States. The first was the Pfizer vaccine. This vaccine has to be taken in two doses, a couple of weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be effective and safe. The vaccine is among the first to use mRNA in order to build immunity. One downside to the Pfizer vaccine is that it has to be stored as extremely cold temperatures. Some facilities may not even have the necessary freezers to maintain doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The other vaccine that is already in circulation is the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine, like Pfizer, is a two dose vaccine. Unlike Pfizer, Moderna only needs to be kept at typical freezer temperatures. The vaccine also proved to the FDA that it was safe and effective.
By only factoring in these two vaccines, the Biden administration is aiming to give out 100 million doses in their first 100 days; a plan that experts say is ambitious but possible.
As the virus has transmitted between its hosts, it has also mutated. A new and more contagious strand of the virus has been identified and has caused many to worry. This has led many to believe that things will get worse before they get better. But hope is on the horizon.
Johnson & Johnson has also developed a COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine could indeed be a game changer. Dr Fauci says the vaccine could be approved in as little as two weeks. If approved, it would be the fist one-dose COVID-19 vaccine to hit the market. The vaccine also does not need to be at extremely cold temperatures. That would make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine the most practical vaccine.
Not only would the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be easier to administer, but it would also boost the total production of COVID vaccines. If all three companies are producing vaccines, the vaccines will arrive sooner.
Ohio has developed its own distribution plan. Ohio is attempting a “phased approach.” Under this plan, Ohio will have four phases. Phase one will vaccinate frontline workers and the elderly as well as some other high risk groups. Under phase 2, “other specific critical populations” will be vaccinated and under phases 3 and 4, when the vaccine is more widely available, it will be made available to all Ohioans.
Hope is on the horizon. If Americans are able to follow the science and look out for their fellow citizens, the country will get through this pandemic together.