New York Times op-ed: ‘Pandemic in US will be over far sooner than expected’

A New York Times op-ed said Monday that experts are now saying the coronavirus pandemic may be over “far sooner than expected” because of steps taken under the direction of President Donald Trump. 

Science reporter Donald G. MacNeil Jr. said he was “cautiously optimistic” about new theraputics and vaccines that can bring new cases and deaths down to negligible levels by the middle of next year–efforts directly encouraged and influenced by Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.

“Events have moved faster than I thought possible. I have become cautiously optimistic,” McNeil Jr. wrote. “Experts are saying, with genuine confidence, that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected, possibly by the middle of next year.”

Reporter digs at Trump but admits his programs working

Of course, MacNeil had to get in some digs at Trump, because after all, it is the New York Times. Insulting Trump is the price of admission for Times writers, but if we look behind the insults, there is a lot of praise for Trump’s actions to counter the pandemic.

“Health experts agree that, with stronger leadership, the death toll would have been far lower” than the 215,000 to date, he said, while admitting that the U.S. has done far better than the original 2.2 million predicted.

He also slammed Trump for not wearing masks consistently. His overarching point, though, contradicts the digs at Trump and admits that treatments and vaccines have been developed at lightning speed and have lessened the number of deaths greatly.

He hailed Trump’s Operation Warp Speed for supporting promising vaccine candidates and speeding up the timeline from years to months.

“Despite the chaos in day-to-day politics and the fighting over issues like masks and lockdowns, Operation Warp Speed — the government’s agreement to subsidize vaccine companies’ clinical trials and manufacturing costs — appears to have been working with remarkable efficiency,” MacNeil said.

Operation Warp Speed working

MacNeil reported that Operation Warp Speed chief scientific adviser Moncef Slaoui fully expects some of the vaccine candidates now in development under the program to be 75 to 90 percent effective in the third stage of clinical trials and at least two to be approved by the FDA by early January.

Slaoui is a former pharmaceutical executive who has overseen the development of 14 vaccines, so he knows that of which he speaks.

The Times piece noted that the U.S. is doing much better than during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, in which 675,000 people died when the U.S. had less than half the population that it has now. The equivalent number of deaths with today’s population would be 2 million.

While MacNeil tries desperately not to give Trump any credit for these successes, its pretty clear to Americans that Trump had a lot to do with them and is still working hard to lower cases and deaths while refusing to let fear of the virus “dominate” his policy around it.

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