President-elect Joe Biden has issued a dire warning to Americans, saying the "darkest days in the battle against COVID[-19] are ahead of us" as the death toll rises from the virus that has already taken more than 300,000 U.S. lives.
Although two vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, it will take months for the inoculations to be widely available. In the meantime, Biden says, "tens of thousands more" people will die from the coronavirus.
What are the details?
"Experts say things are going to get worse before they get better, notwithstanding the fact that we have the vaccine," Biden said during a news conference Tuesday. "As you all know, we're averaging a death rate of 3,000 people a day. That means we're going to lose tens of thousands of more lives in the months to come, and a vaccine won't be able to stop that so we'll have to remain vigilant.
"One thing I promise you about my leadership during this crisis," he continued. "I'm gonna tell it to you straight. I'm going to tell you the truth. And here's the simple truth: Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us."
'Darkest days ahead': Joe Biden gives sobering message on Covid www.youtube.com
Biden also hailed Congress' passage of a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package from the night before, which includes $600 stimulus checks to Americans making less than $75,000. He urged Democrats and Republicans to come together and deliver additional legislation in the near future to address the pandemic.
"Like all compromises, it's far from perfect, but it does provide vital relief at a critical time," Biden said, according to The Hill. "However, as I have said all along, this bill is just a first step — a down payment — on addressing the crisis we're in. We have a lot more work to do."
Biden tweeted after his speech, "In the first 100 days of my administration, we will: - Ask all Americans to mask up - Administer 100 million vaccine shots - Get most schools back open We're going to contain the virus and get back to our lives."
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump touted the fact that vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna — which were rolled out in a matter of months rather than the years it typically takes for approval to be administered — are being distributed nationwide.
"Distribution of both vaccines is going very smoothly," Trump tweeted. "Amazing how many people are being vaccinated, record numbers. Our Country, and indeed the World, will soon see the great miracle of what the Trump Administration has accomplished. They said it couldn't be done!!!
Distribution of both vaccines is going very smoothly. Amazing how many people are being vaccinated, record numbers.… https://t.co/HmMsVSDyN8— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1608647176.0
As of this writing, tracking by the researchers at Johns Hopkins University shows there have been more than 1.7 million deaths attributed to COVID-19 globally, with 322,218 in the U.S.