Yes, the announcement does have something of the feel of a grownup taking charge of the pandemic mayhem that still grips the country. Multiple COVID vaccines were made widely available months ago, and one of them has been recently approved by the FDA. But about 90,000 people have died in this country since April 1, and the vast majority of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are among the unvaccinated. About a quarter of Americans aged 12 and over still haven’t had even one vaccine dose; when you add in the population of children still too young to be eligible for a vaccine, some 37 percent of the country hasn’t had one dose. That’s a huge population for infection, transmission, and the evolution of new variants.

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