USC School of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Richard Dang (R) gives Ashley Van Dyke a Covid-19 vaccine as a mass vaccination of health care workers is happening on January 15, 2021 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
Irfan Khan | AFP | Getty Images
With President Joe Biden making tackling the Covid-19 crisis his top priority, American voters are a little more optimistic about the pandemic than they were last fall, according to a new poll by NBC News.
Still, many respondents are dissatisfied with the sluggish introduction of the vaccine in the country, and a majority blame the federal government, according to the survey.
Poll results released Thursday showed that 38% of registered voters believe the worst of the health crisis is behind the country, while 44% believe the worst is yet to come. In a poll conducted just before the November elections, those numbers were 25% and 55%, respectively.
In his inaugural address on Wednesday, Biden warned of a difficult battle against the impending coronavirus.
“We are entering what is possibly the toughest and deadliest phase of the virus,” he said.
The country has at least 193,600 new coronavirus cases and at least 3,030 Covid deaths every day, based on a 7-day average calculated by CNBC using data from Johns Hopkins University. New, more infectious strains of the virus have emerged in the United States. At least 406,000 Americans have died from the virus since the pandemic started early last year.
The U.S. has failed to meet its target of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020. Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, just over 14.2 million people had received one or more doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday morning, according to the CDC.
While respondents to the NBC survey expressed a slight increase in optimism about the pandemic, more than half of respondents were previously dissatisfied with the introduction of vaccines: 30% said vaccine administration went poorly, while 25% said it was bad that they “didn’t” run too well. “
Another 11% said it was handled “very” well, and 31% said it went “fairly” well.
Among those who said the rollout was below average, 64% primarily blamed the federal government, while 21% blamed the state governments. Another 11% blamed both of them the same.
The answers diverged across the party lines. 79% of Democratic voters who criticized the introduction of the vaccine blamed the federal government. Among Republicans who were dissatisfied with the distribution, 52% blamed states.
The poll polled 1,000 registered voters nationwide from January 10-13. The error rate is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Biden plans to accelerate vaccine rollout by increasing funding for local and state officials, creating more vaccination sites, and launching a national awareness campaign, according to his Covid Response Plan released Thursday. Previously, Biden said his government will try to give 100 million vaccine shots in the first 100 days.
His incoming health officials have expressed dismay at the state of the federal vaccine distribution plan.
“What we inherit from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined,” Jeff Zients, Biden’s Covid Response coordinator, told reporters. “We have to vaccinate as much of the US population as possible to get out of this pandemic, but we don’t have the infrastructure.”
On his first day in office, Biden restored the national security team in charge of global health, safety and biological defense, urged authorities to extend statewide moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures, and urged the Department of Education to put a break on student loan payments and interest to extend.
The president has also issued a mask mandate for anyone visiting a federal building or state, or using certain public transportation. Biden launched a 100-Day Masking Challenge that asked Americans to wear face coverings in public for the next 100 days.
Adopting a new Covid aid package will be a challenge for the new Congress and the White House. Democrats have a small majority in both houses of Congress, and Republicans are skeptical about spending increases.
“We have to put politics aside and finally face this pandemic as a nation,” Biden said on Wednesday.