WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to unveil new guidance on outdoor mask-wearing on Tuesday, ahead of a planned speech by President Joe Biden later in the day on the state of the pandemic response.
NewsNation will live stream Biden’s remarks at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Officials said a focus in the coming weeks will be on easing guidance for vaccinated people, both in recognition of their lower risk and to provide an incentive to get shots.
“We’re excited about the progress we’ve made, and the opportunity ahead of us, and because of the vaccination program we built we’re further along than almost anyone predicted,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients in a Monday interview. “It means we’re closer to returning to normal.”
Approximately 141 million, or about 43% of Americans, have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far and 29% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 95.9 million people, or 28.9% of the U.S. population, have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 42.5% of the U.S. population or 141 million adults had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
One of Biden’s first actions in office was to increase the federal government’s orders for the vaccines to ensure supply for all Americans by early summer. Now the U.S. is able to turn to sharing some of the supply with the world, as the White House announced Monday it would do with roughly 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced in the U.S. but not yet authorized for use there.
At the same time, the White House was instrumental in an agreement reached with drugmaker Sanofi on Monday to help scale up production through next year of Moderna’s two-dose shot, which makes up more than 40 percent of doses administered in the U.S.
Believing most Americans who have yet to get a shot would do so if it were easier, the White House has deployed billions of dollars toward ads encouraging shots, community programs to bring doses to the hardest to reach Americans, and tax credits to encourage employers to give their workers paid time off to get protected.
“In this next phase we’ll focus on increasing accessibility, building confidence, continuing to put equity at the center of everything we do,” Zients said of the push to maximize the number of Americans vaccinated in coming months. “It’s not going to be easy, but neither was getting to 200 million shots in less than 100 days, and we did that.”