Picture credit: WebMD
In three days, when Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, he will be faced with a devastating pandemic and uncertain economy.
Ron Klain, Biden’s new chief of staff, made a prediction that the number of deaths due to the coronavirus would reach 500,000 by the end of February. As of now, we are nearing 400,000 deaths. While the daily death count is exceeding 3,000, we are now learning of new forms of the virus. It is more contagious and will most likely be the main infectant by March of this year.
This more contagious variant of the coronavirus was discovered in Britain and has now spread to over 50 countries, causing a new surge of cases. This variant has been named B.1.1.7 and its full impact is expected in the next couple months. Three other variants have also been discovered in South Africa and Brazil, which are less contagious.
Klain has promised, despite this grim news, that Biden and his staff have a “plan to fix it” by finding ways to accelerate vaccine distribution. Last week, the Biden Administration announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to help with pandemic-related unemployment and other financial and economic hardships. For example, for Americans who were working in travel-related jobs, the U.S. Travel Association has estimated that 40% of all travel jobs are now gone since March 2020 when stay-at-home orders, shutdowns and quarantines started.
Meanwhile, states are starting to increase eligibility for the vaccines beyond frontline workers to allow people 65 and older to receive the vaccine. Airports have been serving as major testing sites in large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Tampa. Places like California’s Disneyland theme park, which has been closed since last March, will become a vaccination site.