Biden: US ‘accelerating our path out of this pandemic’
President Biden on Friday touted the potential of a pill developed by Pfizer that has shown promising results in reducing hospitalizations and death among those with COVID-19. Biden argued that the treatment, paired with the rollout of vaccines for children, could lead the U.S. out of the pandemic more quickly.
“If authorized by the [Food and Drug Administration] FDA, we may soon have pills and may treat the virus of those who become infected. We have already secured millions of doses, and the therapy would be another tool in our toolbox to protect people from the worst outcomes of COVID,” Biden said during remarks about the October jobs report.
“But look, it’s important to remember, we need to prevent infections, not wait to treat them once they happen,” Biden continued. “And vaccination remains the best way to do that. The pandemic is not yet behind us. But with this week’s announcements — vaccines for kids, more adults getting vaccinated, potential treatment for those who get sick — we’re accelerating our path out of this pandemic.”
Pfizer announced Friday that its antiviral COVID-19 pill cuts the risk of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths by 89 percent when compared to those who received a placebo, according to an analysis of study data.
In a study examining adults who had contracted COVID-19 and were considered at high risk of becoming severely ill, the pharmaceutical company reported that out of 389 people who received the drug, three (0.8 percent) were hospitalized, but did not die.
The government recently approved the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, and the first kids in that group began receiving the shot this week. The administration has also touted that roughly 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
Approval of the Pfizer pill would be a significant breakthrough in treatment and another cause for optimism as the U.S. makes progress against the pandemic, though White House officials have stressed that the FDA will operate independently when approving treatments.
The U.S. recently surpassed 750,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and has the highest number of recorded cases of any country in the world. But weekly case averages have steadily declined in recent weeks after the August and September surge caused by the delta variant.