News & Politics

Trump on Operation Warp Speed: 5 Times Faster Than Fastest Prior Vaccine

AP Photo/John Bazemore

President Donald Trump celebrated the historic progress of Operation Warp Speed, his administration’s effort to develop a vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, in a Rose Garden speech on Friday. He also pledged that his administration will not reenter a costly and potentially deadly lockdown in fighting COVID-19.

“No medical breakthrough of this scope and magnitude has ever been achieved,” Trump declared. “Operation Warp Speed is unequaled and unrivaled anywhere in the world.”

“As a result of Operation Warp Speed, Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective. This far exceeds any and all expectations,” the president added.

He countered misleading reports that Pfizer’s vaccine development was not connected to Operation Warp Speed.

“In July my administration reached an agreement with Pfizer to provide $1.95 billion to support the mass manufacturing and distribution of 100 million doses with the option to purchase a total of 600 million doses shortly thereafter,” Trump recounted. “Our investment will make it possible for the vaccine to be provided by Pfizer free of charge. Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Warp Speed but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation.”

Trump noted that the average vaccine development process takes 8 to 12 years, yet “through operation Warp Speed we’re doing it in less than 1 year. … This is five times faster than the fastest prior vaccine development in history. Five times faster.” That truly is a jaw-dropping and historic accomplishment.

The president insisted that under any other administration, the vaccine “would have taken three, four, five years” to develop, “and it would have been in the FDA forever.”

The president pledged that the government will work with Pfizer to distribute the vaccine to high-risk individuals and front-line workers as soon as possible. He predicted that the vaccine will be available to the entire population as early as April.

“By giving the vaccine to high-risk individuals right away we will dramatically reduce hospitalizations and deaths,” he declared. “We will effectively end this phase of the pandemic and allow seniors to reclaim their golden years.”

Trump mocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) for claiming he would block the vaccine in New York, citing negative press coverage of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, including his record in forcing nursing homes to admit COVID-positive patients.

Trump touted his administration’s efforts to combat the lethality of COVID-19 and noted that “every American who needed a ventilator has had access to a ventilator.”

The president also claimed that America witnessed the “smallest economic retraction and most rapid economic recovery of any major Western nation,” citing the eye-popping 33 percent GDP growth in the third quarter of 2020, and rising employment rates.

Trump promised that his administration “will not be going to a lockdown,” claiming that the previous lockdown cost $50 billion every day. “Lockdowns cost lives and they cause a lot of problems. The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.” He noted that rates of drug and alcohol use, along with depression and job loss, skyrocket under lockdown measures.

Unfortunately, members of Democrat Joe Biden’s COVID-19 team have expressed support for another round of lockdown. While Trump is contesting the unconfirmed results of the 2020 election, Biden currently enjoys critical leads in key swing states.

Trump’s remarks about a different administration did not constitute a concession to Joe Biden, but rather a snarky response to Team Biden’s repeated complaints about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Even if Trump had not achieved historic peace deals with Israel in the Middle East, restored the federal judiciary with originalist judges and justices, or championed the right to life of the unborn to a greater extent than any previous president, his success on Operation Warp Speed would merit recognition in the history books. Sadly, many are too blinded by outrage at the president’s hyperbole and foibles to acknowledge his historic accomplishments.

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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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