Biden is taking a gamble; setting dates against which you can be judged is always risky in politics. He is sure to face a backlash if vaccination delays nix his timelines. The pandemic has long busted expectations and its murderous hold on the world, with the help of new viral mutations, means no one can really know when it will end. And the White House’s plan to set up a national vaccination booking website has some Democrats shuddering, as they remember the glitchy portal that hampered the rollout of Obamacare.
That would make Biden’s pledge, delivered in his primetime address on Thursday night, a neat line that makes him look good for little cost. After many years in the White House and Congress, the President understands that nothing gets the creaky machinery of the federal government moving like a public order from the commander-in-chief, so setting symbolic deadlines might force the race to vaccinate to step up a gear.
After so many months of bad news, it’s quite something to see the giddiness of people who have already got their shots in a new season of hope. If everything goes well, the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel might just be the fireworks bursting in air on America’s birthday.
‘We are sharing what we have with them. They should be sharing with us’
The US has accepted 24 countries’ offers to vaccinate American diplomats stationed there — but has no plans to offer vaccines to foreign diplomats on its own soil, reports CNN’s Kylie Atwood. “It is incredibly frustrating,” said a senior European diplomat in Washington. “We are sharing what we have with them. They should be sharing with us. Vaccines are going to get diplomacy up and running, we need to be vaccinated.” Politico first reported on the diplomats’ growing frustration.
Postcard from Jerusalem
My family and I just moved from London to Jerusalem, where I’m taking on a new role as correspondent here. It would be a big move even pre-pandemic. But during Covid-19, the differences between the two cities are stark.
As newcomers, we still had to quarantine, but once that ended, it felt like we were in a normal city. Restaurants are busy, people out shopping, kids going to school. Bars and eateries at the city’s famous Mahane Yehuda market have been packed with diners and drinkers — finally enjoying a nightlife scene that’s been shut down for months. If it weren’t for the face masks and many ‘for rent’ signs in empty storefronts, you’d almost think there was no such thing as coronavirus.
Getting a vaccine here is easy, to the point that some people seem offended at the question, saying ‘Yes of course I got my second dose more than a month ago!’ For meetings, people expect me to come see them in person. It’s honestly still a little unnerving. It feels like we’ve not only physically moved, but also moved forward in time — to the future that awaits cities and countries around the world as more and more people get vaccinated. Hopefully. — CNN’s Hadas Gold writes from Jerusalem