President Biden’s coronavirus response will be front and center in today’s House hearing.
The White House is racing to blunt and prepare for a potential fourth coronavirus surge as more transmissible coronavirus variants spread across the US — investing billions of dollars to boost coronavirus preparedness, accelerating the pace of vaccinations and working to prepare the public and governors for the prospect of another surge.
In what would be a first, the White House is drawing up plans to surge vaccines to emerging hotspots in an attempt to blunt the virus’ trajectory and protect those at highest risk, two senior administration officials told CNN.
While the number of daily coronavirus cases continues to decline and more than 2 million Americans are now being vaccinated daily, the White House Covid-19 response team has been preparing for the worst.
Officials have been combing through data to plot the virus’s trajectory, mapping out different scenarios and drawing up plans for how the federal government would snap into action.
“Everything we do is with the thought in mind that there might be another surge,” a senior administration official said, summing up the administration’s efforts to combat the virus and prepare for a surge.
That focus has increased in recent weeks as the decline in new daily cases slowed, leveling off at a worryingly high level.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, will be the dominant strain within weeks. There are also concerns about governors and local officials prematurely loosening public health restrictions in a slew of states.
A fourth surge would be the first on President Biden’s watch and a major test for the new administration. And while some constraints still remain — including the lopsided authority of state and local officials over the federal government in implementing public health restrictions — a half-dozen Biden administration officials told CNN they believe the federal government is better prepared than ever before to handle a surge.
Read more about Biden’s coronavirus response here.