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Biden warns US may lose more lives due to COVID despite vaccine, urges vigilance

WILMINGTON: US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday warned that the United States may lose "tens of thousands" of more lives due to COVID-19, despite the vaccine rollout and urged Americans to remain vigilant as cases continue to spike.

Speaking at a virtual address here, Biden said: "Experts say things are going to get worse before they are going to get better -- notwithstanding the fact that we have a vaccine. As you know, we are averaging a death rate of 3,000 people a day -- that means that we are going to loose tens of thousands of more lives in the months to come and the vaccine would not be able to stop that. We will still have to remain vigilant."

The President-elect who received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday expressed full confidence in the vaccine. "I have absolute confidence in the vaccine but, we are in short supply. Taking the vaccine from the vile into the arms of millions of Americans is one of the biggest operational challenges the United States has ever faced," he stated.

Biden urged Americans to "mask up, stay socially distanced and avoid large gatherings" calling for the public to work in a bipartisan manner to get through the tough times.

About his plans for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, he said: "Early next year, I am going to put forward my plans to Congress as to what comes next. We need more help to fully distribute the vaccine. We are going to need more testing... Congress did its job this week and I can and I must ask them to do it again next year."

Stating that the US' "darkest days" of the pandemic are "ahead of us" and "not behind us", he asserted it is going to take patience, persistence and determination to beat this virus.

According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, the COVID-19 pandemic has raged in the United States in recent weeks, after a respite in the summer to early fall period.

Infections have risen above 18 million since January, hospitalisation has hit daily record highs of above 100,000 and the death toll has reached over 320,000.

 

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