President Biden has a coronavirus plan. The plan is to mostly continue the coronavirus plan of the Trump administration, but use credulous reporters who can’t do division to convince the world that he has hatched a brilliant new coronavirus plan.
And up until tonight, it worked flawlessly. Now that some reporters have put some denominators into some numerators, though, Biden’s on the defensive.
But first let’s look at how Biden successfully spun things for a while. Consider this headline and article from Biden’s first full day
“President Joe Biden has vowed to move “heaven and earth” to administer 100 million vaccines to Americans in 100 days when unveiling his national Covid-19 plan on Thursday – all while calling the Trump administration’s vaccine plan a ‘dismal failure’”
Here’s how a CBS reporter is reporting it:
NOW: President elect Biden says on day 1 he’ll order FEMA to set up COVID19 vaccination centers around the country to vaccinate millions.
He wants to 100 million shots in his first 100 days.
That’s an ambitious goal.
Trump had no national strategy.
Biden is starting with one.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud)
January 15, 2021
So let’s compare Biden’s “ambitious” goal to Trump’s “failure”: Biden is promising 100 million vaccines in 100 days. That’s 1 million vaccines per day.
In the final 7 days of the Trump administration, about 6.4 million vaccine doses have been given. That’s more than 910,000 per day, or 91% of Biden’s “ambitious goal.” What’s more, that number is only so low because the weekend was 50% longer than usual. The weekday average is nearly 1.2 million.
On Trump’s last day, 1.6 million vaccines were administered. Compared to that, Biden’s talking about slowing down vaccinations by 35%.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, after receiving all sorts of reporter-praise for being a straight shooter, tried to make it look like Biden’s 1 million per day was a massive increase.
Ha! Psaki says they are doubling the pace of vaccination, claiming 500k as the baseline. But that’s averaging out the first month of vaccinations (which is driven down by the early weeks) as opposed to how many shots we were averaging when he took office, which is close to 1mln.
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein)
January 21, 2021
That is, she didn’t want to compare Biden to Trump at full speed, so she averaged the recent days (nearly 1 million doses) together with the early days when some states hadn’t begun, and others had no infrastructure.
Some reporters did the math, though and tried to ask Biden about this. The President did not appreciate being questioned.
President Biden, when asked whether 100 million vaccines within 100 days is too low of a goal: “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Gimme a break. C’mon man.” Press then escorted out.
— Matt Viser (@mviser)
January 21, 2021
Ah well. It must be tough to be Joe Biden facing the media — especially when some of them can do division.