Just hours after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky nearly broke down in tears while imploring Americans to stay vigilant during what administration officials have sought to describe as the home stretch in the fight against COVID, Joe Biden warned that the war against the virus is “far from won.”
Setbacks are possible, he said, speaking at the White House and warning the country against the temptation to let down its guard.
Frankly, it’s not clear to me what’s so onerous about wearing a mask to the grocery store or remaining six feet apart from strangers, but then again, I chose a lifestyle defined by “social distancing” a half-decade ago, so it’s possible I’ve simply lost the plot when it comes to the benefits of human contact.
Anyway, Biden said 90% of US adults will be eligible for a vaccine by April 19 — so, within three weeks.
The number of pharmacies where shots are available will double, he said. Almost all adults will be able to receive a vaccine within five miles of their home. Additionally, the government is sending millions of dollars to assist seniors and promised to ramp up the vaccination effort even further.
Biden’s strategy — with regard to the vaccine, stimulus, and governing in general — seems straightforward thus far. He pays no attention to whatever there is in the way of negative media coverage, ignores anything with the potential to sidetrack priorities and moves steadily forward while simultaneously insisting that if everyone is even a modicum of patient with him, he’ll continue to fix problems.
It’s an almost maddeningly methodical approach for a nation that became accustomed to daily (and sometimes hourly) drama emanating from the White House. Sometimes, you get the impression the media longs for the days when 1600 Penn. was a macabre soap opera. (“Who are you people and why did you put out our dumpster fire?!”)
America doesn’t generally hear from Biden unless and until he’s got something to say. You’re expected to ignore the literal stumbles (both linguistic and physical) because he’s getting things done without too many figurative stumbles. I’d argue that’s been a good deal so far.
The political scientist in me (and regular readers know I was a political scientist before I was anything else) simply doesn’t have much to analyze when it comes to Biden. That can be frustrating on some days. But maybe it’s precisely the point.
As Barack Obama put it in October, “With Joe, you’re not going to have to think about [him] every day. And that’s worth a lot.”
Me being somewhat egotistical, I’m not sure I’d have taken that as a compliment, but Obama’s point was a good one. “You’re not going to have to argue about [Biden] every day. It just won’t be so exhausting,” he said, at the same speech in Philadelphia.
It’s true. There’s not much to argue about when it comes to Biden. You might lament the lack of bipartisanship in the stimulus package, but I doubt too many of the everyday Americans who received some type of benefit from it share your misgivings.
In his remarks on Monday, Biden couched his vaccine accomplishments in accidentally Trumpian terms. “Look at what we’ve done in the last ten weeks. No other country has come close,” he said.
The difference between Biden and Trump: That claim wasn’t really hyperbole. Sure, you can probably poke holes in it, but over just three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), the US reported 10 million shots administered.