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The Trajectory Of The Pandemic, 100 Days Into Biden's Administration

President Biden removes his mask before speaking about the pandemic Tuesday afternoon outside the White House.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
President Biden removes his mask before speaking about the pandemic Tuesday afternoon outside the White House.

Combating the coronavirus pandemic has been job one for the Biden administration's first 100 days.

President Biden leaned into the 100-day marker, setting goals for vaccinations and in-person schooling, and asking Americans to mask up for the three-plus months.

So with Biden's first 100 days in office ending this week, here's a quick look back at the pandemic's course, using the simple metrics of cases, deaths and vaccinations.

The brutal winter surge in the U.S. peaked right around Biden's inauguration, with confirmed cases cresting just ahead of the change in administrations. A welcome and precipitous decline continued for a month after Biden took office, but then cases plateaued and ticked up again. Cases have resumed falling in recent days.


Coronavirus deaths, of course, lag newly confirmed cases and have largely followed the same trajectory. An average of more than 3,000 people were dying every day around Biden's inauguration. Now, that figure is under 700 per day, as of Tuesday.

Deaths didn't see the same recent uptick as cases, in part because vaccines first went to members of at-risk populations, including older people, who are more likely to die if they get COVID-19. Broadly, deaths have fallen as vaccines have been distributed.


Biden's original vaccination goal — 100 million shots in 100 days — was essentially just a continuation of the pace of inoculation on Inauguration Day. Public health officials urged the administration to aim much higher, and about a month ago, at his first news conference, the president doubled the goal: 200 million doses in 100 days.

Biden announced last week that that 200 million target had been achieved — ahead of his 100th day in office, and afterward the pace of vaccinations began slowing down. The decline coincided with the temporary pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and as a nationwide inoculation campaign in which demand vastly outstripped supply began transforming into one operating at the grassroots level in which providers aim to convince more hesitant Americans to roll up their sleeves and get a dose.


Biden spoke Tuesday about the pandemic and its trajectory, saying that the country has "made stunning progress because of all of you, the American people."

More than 50% of U.S. adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and two-thirds of older people are fully vaccinated.

Biden added that next week, he'll lay out "the path ahead to continue our fight against COVID-19 to get us to July Fourth. This is our target date to get life in America closer to normal and to begin to celebrate our independence from the virus."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Benjamin Swasey
Ben Swasey is an editor on the Washington Desk who mostly covers politics and voting.