Biden ups the ante: Our new goal is 200 million doses, not 100 million, by my 100th day in office

I’m glad he volunteered this at the start of today’s press conference because our crack White House press corps asked him exactly zero questions about COVID. No fooling.

Not a one. Nothing about variants, nothing about loosening the CDC guidance for vaccinated people, nothing about the g-ddamned teachers unions still whining incessantly as his administration takes halting steps to reopen schools.

Maybe Jen Psaki should sit in the audience at the next presser and bark a few COVID questions at him just to introduce the topic, since the media’s evidently no longer interested.

Anyway, this is newsy:

Righties have criticized him since he was sworn in for stubbornly setting the bar on vaccinations so low initially. One hundred million doses in 100 days might have seemed ambitious last December, when it was unclear how efficiently America might be able to supply and distribute the vaccine, but we had reached around a million shots per day on average by January 20. It was clear literally from the moment he took office that we would meet his goal. Today, very belatedly, as we’re on the cusp of a major boost in supply, he’s finally willing to put more skin in the game.

Although even the new goal is arguably too conservative. We reached 100 million doses on Biden’s watch on Day 58 of his presidency. To do another 100 million in the 42 days after that, we’d have to average 2.4 million shots per day. Not only is that doable, we’re doing it right now:

Once again, he’s set a pace for the country that we’re already on track to surpass. This one will be a closer call than the original goal was, but with supply surging and many states now opening up vaccine eligibility to the general public, it’s a cinch that shots per day will soon reliably exceed the 2.4 million he needs to make it. Texas, the second-most populous state, made all adults eligible starting next week a few days ago. Florida, the third-most populous, will do so on April 5. And news is breaking this afternoon that California, the biggest state, is set to take the plunge on April 15.

The move puts California well ahead of the curve in meeting the President Joe Biden’s goal of allowing all adults to get vaccinated by May 1.

The moves are possible due to an expected vast increase in vaccine supply, Newsom said in a statement. The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of April and then more than 3 million a week by the second half of the month.

The state, which currently receives about 1.8 million doses per week, has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week, and is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April.

By the time we reach Biden’s 100th day in office, America’s most populous state may well have doubled its current dosing capacity. See why Sleepy Joe’s suddenly so willing to gamble publicly on hitting the 200 million mark? To make it interesting, he should have aimed for 225 million. But politicians are politicians. Underpromise, then overperform.

Anyway, the looming vaccine surge couldn’t come at a better time. Cases are rising in 30 states now, modestly in most but sharply in Michigan, where they’ve more than doubled in the past two weeks. Michigan has almost caught up to Florida as well in the number of confirmed cases of the British variant it’s seen even though it has less than half the population. It’s not a “casedemic,” either: Hospitalizations are up 81 percent in the past 14 days.

But there’s an interesting wrinkle as to who’s being hospitalized:

The growth in severe cases requiring hospital care is almost entirely among younger adults who haven’t yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated. The older, more vulnerable people who have had that opportunity are being spared. Michigan’s another state that’s opening up eligibility to all adults soon, specifically on April 5, but if I were Gretchen Whitmer I’d be looking to accelerate that by a week if possible. Get a few thousand more shots into adults, including younger adults, ASAP and it may have an outsized effect on limiting this new wave.