Vice President Mike Pence said that the U.S. is ready to manage the worsening coronavirus outbreak throughout the country.
The U.S. posted over 170,100 new Covid-19 infections of the virus on Wednesday, the second-highest one-day spike reported to date, based on the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
As of Wednesday, more than 79,400 Covid-19 patients in the U.S. were in hospitals, more than at any other point during the pandemic, as revealed by data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitals in some parts of the country are reportedly overwhelmed as they aim to care for more patients.
Mike Pence, who officially heads the task force, and other officials at the briefing told Americans that the U.S. is prepared to respond to the coronavirus crisis.
“America has never been more prepared to combat this virus than we are today,” the vice president said at the beginning of the briefing. “Our pledge to each and every American looking on today is we’re going to work around the clock to keep it that way.”
While he noted the increasing number of cases and hospitalizations across the country, he magnified the positive vaccine developments in the past weeks, stressing that the country could have one or more safe and effective vaccine “in a short period of time.”
“We’re getting there, America,” Pence added.
Meanwhile, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. puts the country in a “bad position.”
He reiterated the importance of using face masks, pointing out that using them while socially distancing, avoiding crowds, and preparing for outdoor activities “makes a difference.”
Despite positive news on vaccine developments, the infectious diseases specialist said that a vaccine is not enough to eradicate the virus.
“I think the opposite. … I really do” Dr. Fauci said. “The cavalry is coming but don’t put your weapons down, you better keep fighting because they are not here yet. Help is on the way, but it isn’t here yet.”
According to the World Health Organization, several candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, with some undergoing late-stage tests before getting formal approval.
Findings from COVID vaccine trials are being monitored around the world. Dr. Fauci is optimistic that data on a potential vaccine will be known in a matter of a few weeks.
“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December,” Dr. Fauci said in a BBC interview on Sunday.
“The question is: Once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as quickly as possible?”