A new report from The New York Times indicates that experts have “genuine confidence” that the coronavirus pandemic will end “far sooner” than originally expected and that President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed — the administration’s efforts to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics — has been “working with remarkable efficiency.”
The report, published on Monday, comes with just over three weeks left in the presidential race between Trump and Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden.
“Events have moved faster than I thought possible. I have become cautiously optimistic,” New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil Jr. wrote. “Experts are saying, with genuine confidence, that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected, possibly by the middle of next year.”
The report noted that the U.S. was “faring much better than it did during the Spanish influenza,” which cost 675,000 Americans their lives, adding, “the country’s population at the time was 103 million, so that toll is equivalent to 2 million dead today.”
The Trump campaign would be wise to cite this NYT story as part of its closing message — particularly the success of Operation Warp Speed. pic.twitter.com/cSN8vYlkxT
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) October 13, 2020
The report noted numerous positive developments that have come along the way as the U.S. battles the pandemic, ranging from the average age of those being infected being significantly younger now than at the start of the pandemic to nursing homes becoming better at protecting their patients.
“Sometime in the next three months, health experts say, the F.D.A. is likely to begin granting approval to vaccines now in the works,” the report said. “Despite the chaos in day-to-day politics and the fighting over issues like masks and lockdowns, Operation Warp Speed — the government’s agreement to subsidize vaccine companies’ clinical trials and manufacturing costs — appears to have been working with remarkable efficiency. It has put more than $11 billion into seven vaccine candidates, and the F.D.A. has said it will approve any one that is at least 50 percent effective at preventing infection or reducing its severity.”
The report notes that Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientific adviser, Moncef Slaoui, believes that some of the early vaccine candidates will be 75 to 90 percent effective and that at least two will have won approval by sometime in January.
“By then, Dr. Slaoui has estimated, the factories under contract will have produced enough vaccine for 30 to 40 million people, and then another 80 to 90 million people every month after that,” the report added. “Assuming nothing goes wrong, he said, there will be enough doses for all 330 million Americans to be vaccinated by next June.”
The report noted that the military is standing by to assist in the rapid distribution of any vaccines that become available and that skepticism and hesitation to taking a vaccine may quickly fade as people begin to weigh the relatively minuscule risks of a vaccine against the potential effects of contracting the virus, including “the prospect of being unable to return to work, having to home-school one’s children for years and not eating in a restaurant, flying on an airplane or watching a movie in a theater without the specter of anxiety.”