Biden and Fauci call for return to classrooms, but no longer promise normalcy this year due to mutations, vaccine problems.
“There are other strains of the virus. Things can change,” said the president while visiting a Pfizer factory.
Joe Biden admitted yesterday that life may not return to normal by 2021 due to COVID-19 mutations and possible disruptions in U.S. vaccine production.
In a separate statement, also yesterday Dr. Anthony Fauci said the new variations of the virus mean the government and companies “will have to be nimble to adapt easily to make vaccine versions specifically targeted to any prevalent mutations.” Fauci is considered the nation’s leading infectious disease physician and has been an advisor to the Donald Trump and Biden administrations on the pandemic.
Biden said while visiting a Pfizer vaccine factory in Portage, Michigan, that virus mutations and unforeseen vaccine production failures could extend the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
“I think we will get closer to normalcy by the end of this year. God willing, this Christmas will be different from the last one. But I can’t commit to you. There are other strains of the virus. We don’t know what could happen in terms of production rates. Things can change,” Biden said.
He also said that in the meantime, “I think it’s vitally important to get our kids back in school.” The president has faced criticism for not doing more to pressure reluctant teachers’ unions, the New York Post noted.
The president spoke amid widespread optimism about a return to normalcy as infection rates plummet and vulnerable groups of people are vaccinated, although he noted that some shipments of doses were delayed by snowstorms this week.
According to Bloomberg News analysis of public data, the U.S. has injected more than 59 million doses of vaccine, equivalent to 17.8 doses per 100 people. But preliminary research indicates they are less effective against the more contagious emerging COVID-19 variations.
Last week, Biden said the U.S. government had secured another 200 million coronavirus vaccines, meaning the country would have enough by the end of July for every U.S. adult to receive the two-dose regimen.