Dr. Ashish Jha says there is reason to be optimistic about the future of the COVID-19 pandemic, telling MSNBC on Monday that the United States is doing an “incredible job” with its vaccine rollout.
But the dean of the the Brown University School of Public Health also acknowledged that the country is in a “very complex and a bit confusing” time as restrictions start to roll back while vaccination efforts continue.
“On one hand, people should be very optimistic about the future, and then you hear about things like the variants and the fact that we still have 60,000 cases happening every day,” Jha said. “And that complex set of facts makes it difficult to know what is safe and what is not safe to do.”
The updated guidance released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advising that fully-vaccinated individuals can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, was “terrific,” Jha said.
The doctor said he expects the country is on pace to be administering three or four million doses a day “before very long.”
“Fun to have competent govt!” he wrote on Twitter.
Jha said he thinks the country is in a good position, in terms of supply and distribution, to reach that benchmark. But at a certain point, he predicted the U.S. might reach a point where there are not “going to be enough arms to put the vaccines into” due to hesitancy among Americans.
“We’ve got to get working on that now,” Jha said. “I do think a lot of people who are on the fence are going to jump off the fence when they see people get vaccinated and do well. But there are other people who are going to be resistant and we’re going to have to really engage people to figure out what’s holding them back and try to address those [concerns].”