The White House coronavirus task force is warning states that current vaccination plans won't reduce the spread of the disease until at least the late spring.
Even as President Trump said Tuesday the US vaccination plan would "quickly and dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations and within a short period of time, I think we want to get back to normal," his task force told states in a weekly report that mitigation measures were still essential to preventing further contagion.
"The current vaccine implementation will not substantially reduce viral spread, hospitalizations, or fatalities until the 100 million Americans with comorbidities can be fully immunized, which will take until the late spring," the report, obtained by CNN, read. "Behavioral change and aggressive mitigation policies are the only widespread prevention tools that we have to address this winter surge."
The reports, which are distributed to states on a weekly basis, said that while the "imminent arrival of vaccines provides hope," the effect of the effort would takes months to materialize.
"Large-scale benefits of lower deaths and hospitalizations will only come after months of immunization," the report said. "Difficult but temporary changes in personal behavior are key to limiting disease and death until we bring the pandemic to an end with immunization; this messaging must be delivered frequently and by all effective modalities."
The report said the current surge was continuing in "every corner of the US, from small towns to large cities, from farms to beach communities."
"This surge is the most rapid increase in cases; the widest spread of intense transmission, with more than 2,000 counties in COVID red zones; and the longest duration of rapid increase, now entering its 8th week, that we have experienced," the report stated.
It went on to lament that "many state and local governments are not implementing the same mitigation policies that stemmed the tide of the summer surge; that must happen now."
It said mitigation efforts in Europe had resulted in "clear improvement" but warned "the majority of the United States is not mitigating similarly."