Biden Covid advisor challenges Cuomo’s letter to buy vaccine directly from Pfizer

President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid Advisory Board member Dr. Celine Gounder slammed the Trump administration’s piecemeal Covid response as some states throughout the U.S. scramble to get the vaccine doses they want. 

“I believe we have already had an excessive amount of of a patchwork response throughout the states,” Gounder said in a Monday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.”

In a Friday coronavirus briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the federal government is sending his state 50,000 fewer doses of the vaccine than the week before. The state was getting fewer doses as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded vaccine eligibility to anybody over the age of 65 on Jan. 12.

On Monday, Cuomo despatched a letter to Pfizer asking if the state of New York could buy vaccines directly from the company. Last week, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made a similar request to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Gounder told host Shepard Smith that this approach could cause more problems than it solves. 

“I believe Governor Cuomo, himself, had stated again within the spring that the state of affairs round ventilators was primarily ‘one large Ebay‘ with the entire states bidding in opposition to each other for ventilators, and I believe this sort of an method to vaccine allocation goes to consequence, frankly, in the identical form of state of affairs that he, himself, was criticizing final spring,” Gounder said. 

Data from the CDC shows that the U.S. is averaging about 900,000 vaccinations per day. During an interview with Fox News, Azar cited the CDC number and criticized the Biden administration’s goal of “100 million photographs in arms within the first 100 days.”

“We may have distributed 250 million doses of vaccine by the tip of April,” said Azar. “If they’ve solely performed 100 million vaccinations by then, it will likely be a tragic squandering of the chance that we’ve got handed them.”

Gounder, an epidemiologist at NYU, qualified Azar’s statement, noting that distribution did not mean actual injections of the vaccine. 

“We’ve seen, although, that one, distribution may be very completely different from getting photographs in arms, that that final mile of supply is actually the toughest half right here,” explained Gounder. “Secondly, we’ve got but to affirm that these variety of doses, that 250 million quantity that he is quoting there, is actually going to pan out.”

Cuomo in a separate letter to Azar blasted him for “complicated” the general public about vaccine stockpiles. Azar admitted on Friday that no stockpile at present exists.

Biden advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm warned that the worst of the Covid pandemic is yet to come, and the data backs up his grim prediction. The U.S. is rapidly approaching 400,000 deaths in the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That’s equivalent to roughly one in 822 Americans. For 19 consecutive days, there have been at least 23,000 people in ICUs due to Covid in the U.S., according to the Covid Tracking Project. The HHS reported that nearly 80% of ICU beds are occupied nationwide. 

Gounder said that the U.S. is in “our fifth peak proper now” and that the next few months will be all about “layering protections” in order to avoid another. 

“We actually do have to double down on issues like masking and social distancing, outside as an alternative of indoors, well-ventilated areas,” Gounder warned. “If we do these issues, then, sure, this can be our final peak however it actually is dependent upon every certainly one of us doing what want to be performed to get again to regular life.”

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