Trump / White House Says Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Ready By January
President Donald Trump said it is not too optimistic to try to produce roughly 300 million doses of vaccine in eight months, enough for all Americans, the Washington Post reported.
"No, I'm not overpromising. I don't know who said it, but whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we're going to have. And we hope we're going to come up with a good vaccine," the president said during a coronavirus task force briefing Thursday.
Even the shorter timeline still means there would be no full protection from the coronavirus until after most Americans are likely to have returned to work or school.
Dubbed "Operation Warp Speed," the goal is to produce hundreds of millions of doses by January, Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said Thursday.
"We want to go quickly, but we want to make sure it's safe and it's effective," he said on the "Today" show. "I think that is doable if things fall in the right place."
That's likely welcome news to the millions of businesses that have had to shut down or curtail operations during six weeks of stay-at-home orders, with 3.8 million Americans added to the nation's jobless rolls on Thursday. That brings the six-week total to more than 30 million newly unemployed, The New York Times reported.
As the U.S. coronavirus case count climbed past 1 million and the death toll topped 63,000, Trump signed an executive order this week that forces beleaguered meat processing plants to stay open so the country's food supply isn't threatened.
The order used the Defense Production Act to classify meat processing as critical infrastructure, to try to keep chicken, pork and other meat flowing to supermarket coolers, the Associated Press reported.
More than 20 meatpacking plants have been shuttered under pressure from local authorities and their own workers because of the virus. Others have slowed production as workers have fallen ill or stayed home to avoid getting sick, the wire service said.