Some members of President Joe Biden’s COVID response team leaders are saying internally that it might be Thanksgiving, or even later, before the U.S. reaches herd immunity, which is months later than was originally predicted.

This news comes from two senior administration officials who spoke to The Daily Beast.

Herd Immunity Is The Goal

Biden told CBS News this week that it would “very difficult” to reach herd immunity – which means enough of the population is resistant to the virus for life to return to some semblance of normalcy – “much before the end of the summer.”

Biden said this based on the approximately 1.3 million vaccine doses that are being  produced and/or administered daily.

The Daily Beast reported on Tuesday, “Other top officials working on the federal government’s COVID-19 response say the are uneasy about vaccine supply long term and the impact on herd immunity, and have begun to explore ways to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity, potentially through new partnerships with outside pharmaceutical firms.”

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Top officials are also reportedly worried about how new variants of the virus might affect achieving herd immunity:

“Together, the recent data has alarmed health officials in the Biden administration who are now raising questions about what more can be done to not only shorten the herd immunity timeline—not just to return Americans to some sort of normalcy but also to ensure the country does not experience another surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.”

It continued, “Officials have spent the last several days discussing ways to ramp up genome sequencing to track variants and how to push out the message that Americans need to more closely follow public health guidelines to reduce transmission as B117 variant cases begin to increase.”

Fauci: ‘We’re Going In The Right Direction’

The Daily Beast notes that White House pandemic leader Dr. Anthony Fauci had previously said that about 75 percent of Americans and those in the U.S. would need to receive a vaccine to reach herd immunity, but was “cautiously optimistic” this goal could be reached by the beginning of the fall.

“I still think that is possible,” Fauci said. “As I’ve said before, once we get into mass vaccination when the general public starts getting it by the end of the spring—April, May, June …and we get past any vaccine hesitancy, then we should be able to reach that 70 or 75 percent mark.”

“We’re going in the right direction.” Fauci added.

In December, however, the New York Times reported that Fauci admitted to moving the goal posts upward, to 80 or 85 percent.

Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky addressed the potential dangers of COVID variants on Monday. 

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‘We’re Still At Over 100,000 Cases A Day’

“The virus is going to continue to mutate no matter what we do,” Walensky said. “The types of mutations we’ll see will change as more people are immunized.”

This news comes as many states and municipalities across the U.S. are loosening their COVID restrictions. 

Walensky warned against this, particularly regarding masks. 

“We’re still at over 100,000 cases a day,” she said. “I think we have yet to control this pandemic. We still have this emerging threat of variants. And I would just simply discourage any of those activities.”

“We really need to keep all of the mitigation measures at play here if we’re really going to get control of this pandemic” she added.