The U.S. is inching closer to being able to vaccinate a critical mass of adults, as President Joe Biden was set to address the nation on Thursday.
The U.S. is inching closer to being able to vaccinate a critical mass of adults, as President Joe Biden was set to address the nation on Thursday. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

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On the anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, the U.S. is marking a full-circle milestone on Thursday.

President Joe Biden was set to make remarks to the nation at 7 p.m. Thursday, as reports indicated he will direct states to make all adults age 16 or older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.

The address is coming in light of a series of recent maneuvers the White House has made to secure a robust enough vaccine supply to ultimately end the pandemic in the U.S.

Among the deals struck was a partnership between pharmaceutical rivals Merck and Johnson & Johnson to increase vaccine manufacturing capacity, an announcement that preceded the federal purchase of 100 million additional doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The president has said that by the end of May there will be enough vaccines available to inoculate every U.S. adult.

Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said he anticipates Biden also will announce initiatives to increase the number of vaccination sites throughout the country.

“We’re all waiting to see what the president has to say about that, but certainly vaccinations is number one on everybody’s list,” Rodriguez said.

Bexar County has three mass vaccination hubs: the City’s Alamodome site, the University Health System’s site at the Wonderland of the Americas mall, and UT Health San Antonio’s clinic.

Today also marks the anniversary of when the NBA postponed its games indefinitely after several players contracted the virus, and when actor Tom Hanks confirmed he had been infected with the disease. Before that, the coronavirus seemed very much on the periphery of our lives in San Antonio.

Two days later, the first case in Bexar County was confirmed, and local lockdowns soon followed.

Since then more than 1 in 10 Bexar County residents has been infected with the virus. Of the nearly 200,000 who have contracted the virus, 1 in about 70 has died.

With 366 coronavirus cases reported in Bexar County on Thursday, the seven-day average stands at 186, an uptick of nearly 20 from Wednesday.

COVID-19 claimed five more local lives, bringing the death toll to 2,861. The deceased included two Hispanic men in their 60s and 70s, one Hispanic woman in her 70s, one white man in his 70s, and one white woman in her 80s.

Nearly 320,000 Bexar County residents, or about 1 in 6 inhabitants, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Thursday:

  • 199,431 total cases, 366 new cases
  • 2,861 deaths, five new deaths
  • 240 in hospital, 12% available
  • 104 patients in intensive care
  • 63 patients on ventilators, 66% ventilators available
  • 319,011 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is the San Antonio Report's audience engagement editor.