(CNN)“You know who’s in charge of it? I am.”
The goal? Having hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine ready to go by the end of this year— a target that, if reached, would break every record on the books for vaccine creation. (The mumps vaccine, which has been considered the fastest turnaround of a vaccine ever, took four years!)
Trump, perhaps trying to lower expectations somewhat, said this Thursday about the timeline:
“I’m not overpromising. I don’t know who said it but whatever the maximum is, whatever you can humanly do, we’re going to have. I hope we’re going to have a vaccine, and we’re going to fast-track it like you’ve never seen before, if we come with a vaccine. I think they probably will.”
For the sake of the American public and our collective desire to return to some semblance of normal, we have to hope that this is one Trump boast/promise that he actually will make good on.
The simple truth is that for all the focus on the reopening of state economies this week and in the coming months, nothing will be even close to pre-coronavirus life in this country unless and until a vaccine is widely available.
Ask yourself whether you would get on a plane without a vaccine? What about go to a concert? Or go to your company’s annual convention? Or do one of a thousand other things that we all never even gave a second thought before two months ago?
The reality, of course, is that Trump is not a medical doctor nor an infectious disease specialist. His ability to influence the timeline — except as a sort of cheerleader and pressure exert-er — is relatively limited.
But presidential leadership does matter when faced with extraordinary challenges like this one. Putting a man on the moon. Fighting and winning world wars. Maybe — just maybe — Trump can exert some.
The Point: If past is prologue, Trump will miss his stated goal for a vaccine and then blame others for it somehow. But we all — no matter your partisan leanings — should be rooting against that and for a true medical miracle that produces a vaccine as soon as possible.