Biden admin bracing for up to 70K COVID deaths this winter as booster uptake flops

Enlarge / US President Joe Biden receives the latest COVID-19 booster shot in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2022. (credit: Getty | Saul Loeb)

The Biden administration is struggling to refocus the country’s attention back on the pandemic as the fall booster campaign drags and the latest models project that tens of thousands of Americans will needlessly die this winter of COVID-19.

“This year, nearly every [COVID-19] death is preventable,” President Biden said Tuesday just before rolling up his sleeve to receive his own updated COVID-19 booster.

Few Americans are following his lead. The White House has pushed Halloween as a soft deadline for Americans to get their updated, bivalent COVID-19 booster, arguing that such timing of the dose will allow for the immune system to mount maximal antibody and other immune responses before Americans begin gathering for fall and winter holidays, such as Thanksgiving, when transmission risks increase. But, with Halloween just days away, only 19.4 million Americans have received a bivalent booster—that’s just 6 percent of the people eligible for the shot, which is free and available to everyone ages 5 and above.

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