While the development of multiple vaccines in less than one year is a major scientific achievement, the pandemic is still getting worse.
- Multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are actively spreading around the world, with one as much as 70% more transmissible—meaning many times more infections and deaths.
- Health care systems are reaching capacity, or over capacity. The entire city of Los Angeles has had to begin a triage system for emergency cases.
- Vaccine distribution is not moving quickly enough to reach population-wide immunity in the first half of 2021, which means lockdowns are expected to continue and economic hardship will deepen.
- Poverty and hunger are spreading worldwide, with acute hunger (near starvation) doubling to more than 250 million. In the US, food banks are projected to be billions of meals short by mid-year.
- There are projections the US will see 3,000 and even 4,000 deaths per day in coming weeks, possibly losing 92,000 people in just 3 weeks.
Tonight, on the eve of his inauguration and swearing in as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden spoke to the nation from the Lincoln Memorial, looking out over the reflecting pool, lined with 400 lights, one for every 1,000 lives lost over the last year. He was joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as well as the First Lady and the nation’s first Second Gentleman.