After a year of relentless efforts to vaccinate the American people, President Joe Biden is spending nearly $ 10 billion on new treatments and Covid-19 tests that will greatly help those who can convince.
It is a recent indication that management officials see the epidemic as a long way off, that success cases will continue to cause problems and that those who are not vaccinated, many who do not trust or like Biden, do not give up. .
This week alone, Biden management signed a $ 5.25 billion contract with Pfizer for their Covid diagnostic pill and agreed to pay $ 1 billion for monoclonal antibody treatment from GlaxoSmithKline. That comes in addition to the multi-billion dollar deals earlier this month with Merck and Eli Lilly on their Covid drugs.
Spending billions of dollars on pills to treat Covid's disease is far from what Biden expected to be less than six months ago when he called on Americans to "declare our independence from the virus" during the "summer of freedom."
The treatment, which has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, will provide significant benefits for one in five Americans who are not vaccinated and at high risk of serious illness. But with vaccinations reported to be reduced and only half of those who qualify for a booster have received an extra shot, the drugs may be much needed by those who have been vaccinated.
"Our vaccines are safe and effective, but even if we think we can increase vaccination rates and encourage those at high risk of serious illness, Covid still exists," said Drs. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at the clinic. New York University Adviser on Biden Transformation
How the epidemic plays out in the coming months has significant political consequences for the White House and Democrats in Congress who have been trying to divert voters' attention to the recently passed infrastructure bill. White House officials say Biden's sad endorsement is due to Covid's fatigue among the public and blamed inflation for the economic crisis caused by the epidemic.
As tens of millions of Americans continue to refuse vaccinations, the pills give Biden another tool to prevent the epidemic from returning to a place where hospitals are overcrowded, schools are closed and people avoid traveling with food, public health officials say. .
While administrative officials say their focus is still on raising vaccines, agreements with Pfizer and Merck will provide adequate treatment to 15 million people by the end of next year once their drugs are cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, a move expected by the end of the year.
The $ 10 billion generated this month for treatment comes in excess of the $ 22.5 billion spent by the United States on Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Biden ordered his staff to order a double dose of Pfizer as planned after seeing how successful it was in the results of a study released last week, adding that 10 million people should be included by the end of 2022, according to the average person. by conversation.
"This is good news," the president said in a statement Thursday announcing the Pfizer agreement. "This treatment may be another important tool for our team that will speed up our way out of this epidemic. But vaccines are still our strongest tool."
Administration officials say they expect to see an increase in cases in the colder months as people move into homes and gather for holidays.
And in addition to urging people to be vaccinated, managers now have to pass on a message about boosters. To date, only 36 percent of adults have received their stimulant shotgun, most of which were the first to be vaccinated and are now at risk of contracting a serious illness.
Even before Americans take to the streets for the holidays, charges are mounting and hospitals are arriving. Northeast countries were hit hardest hit, including the heavily vaccinated regions such as Vermont and New Hampshire, with cases rising by 60 percent and 56 percent respectively.
Although uninvited people are more likely to be hospitalized or die, drugs are likely to benefit those who are vaccinated as well. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday a decline in the effectiveness of the vaccine among the elderly and residents of long-term care facilities led to hospitalization and emergency room visits among vaccinated adults.
"While the highest risk is for those who are not vaccinated, we are seeing an increase in emergency department visits between adults 65 and older, who are now also higher than in small groups," he told reporters.
At the same time, a growing number of cities, including Washington, D.C., are raising their masculinity.
In addition to the multi-billion dollar investment in Covid treatment, medicine comes with challenges. Similar to Tamiflu flu treatment, the medication needs to be given within the first few days of symptoms which means people will need to get test results immediately and get a prescription from their doctor.
GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly treatment, although very effective, are delivered by IVs, so patients will have to go to a hospital or delivery center for treatment.
Pfizer's treatment will cost $ 529 per patient and Merck's will cost $ 700 - much less if a patient is hospitalized but more expensive than vaccines, which cost the US government about $ 20 to $ 30 each.