Pfizer and BioNTech will be filing for emergency authorization of their COVID-19 vaccines on Friday (November 20), Vice President Mike Pence said during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White house on Thursday (November 19).
“Literally we could well be just a matter of a few short weeks away from a vaccine being available,” Pence said, also highlighting rising positivity rates for coronavirus tests administered across the country as infections are hitting record highs in the United States.
Pence also said that the Trump administration does not support another lockdown or school closures to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci took the podium at a coronavirus task force briefing to say that vaccine development “did not compromise” safety. “If you’re fighting a battle and the cavalry is on the way, you don’t stop shooting. You keep going until the cavalry gets here. And then you might even want to continue fighting,” encouraging everyone to continue to wear masks and social distance because help was on the way.
Forty-one U.S. states have reported daily record increases in COVID-19 cases in November, 20 have registered new all-time highs in coronavirus-related deaths from day to day, and 26 have reported new peaks in hospitalizations, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.
Twenty-five states reported 10% of COVID-19 diagnostic tests coming back positive for the week ending on Sunday, Nov. 15. The World Health Organization considers a positivity rate above 5% to be concerning.
(Production by Temis Tormo)