- Fred Spriggs

“Give me Warp 3, Mr. Sulu.”

No, I haven’t been watching old reruns of Star Trek, even though the term “warp speed” was frequently shouted by Capt. James Kirk in the 1960s-era television show as he guided Starship Enterprise through space ... the final frontier.

I’m not what’s called a “Trekkie,” someone who is obsessed with all things Star Trek. However, growing up in Seymour in the 1960s with only three television stations, I’ll admit to watching a few episodes of the show.

When I came across the term warp speed on a U.S. Department of Defense website I use to keep informed on military news, I was taken aback to learn that there’s a humongous program called “Operation Warp Speed” under way in our country to develop a safe and effective vaccine to combat the COVID-19 virus.

I like to think of myself as someone who keeps up to date on the news, monitoring news stories from this country and around the world.

I didn’t watch either political party’s convention; however, I understand Operation Warp Speed was talked about during the Republican convention.

I don’t know about you, but I sure hadn’t heard anything reported by the national news media about Operation Warp Speed, a public and private partnership with the goal to deliver 300-million doses of an effective vaccine by the end of the year.

That’s good news for the American people. Operation Warp Speed should be the headline in every major newspaper and the lead story on network and satellite television news shows.

But it’s not.

And the simple answer is because it’s a program being directed by President Donald Trump and his administration, so it doesn’t fit in with the national news media’s liberal agenda.

The national news media provides us with Creepy Uncle Joe Biden telling us President Trump is totally to blame for the COVID-19 pandemic. When Biden finally crawls out of his basement wearing a black “power mask” along with his San Francisco running mate, Kamala Harris, for a photo opportunity, he mumbles something incoherent about Trump.

The left-wing elites in our country go wild, while Antifa thugs beat up another innocent civilian and burn another building in one of our major metropolitan cities.

When Russian dictator, I mean president, Vladimir Putin announced his country had already developed a vaccine against the virus, testing it on his own daughter and even naming it “Sputnik,” this slap in the face to the U.S. is reminiscent of the 1960s space race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. The commies beat us to be the first country in the world to launch a man-made satellite into Earth’s orbit, but they’ve yet to put a man on the moon.

All the television news shows I watched, as well as the newspapers I scanned, carried the news about Russia’s vaccine, although most scientists in the West doubted the safety and effectiveness of the Russian vaccine.

Why hasn’t our news media told us about U.S. efforts to develop a vaccine?

Again, the simple answer is because of their bias against President Trump.

Since they won’t tell you about Operation Warp Speed, I’ll take a few moments to hit some of the high points of the efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine for Americans.

First, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense are partnered to work with private industry and other federal departments and agencies on this unprecedented effort to develop 300-million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.

President Trump and his administration are selecting the most promising vaccine candidates and providing government support to accelerate their development.

The federal government already has invested $12 billion in six vaccine candidates. Agreements with companies including Moderna, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson to provide millions of vaccine doses to Americans as quickly as they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are in place.

The Trump administration has also invested billions of dollars to dramatically increase the ability of companies to manufacture, in this country, not China, vaccines on a massive scale.

Already, three vaccine candidates are in clinical trials, and more than 140 clinical trials for therapeutics and effective therapies have already been developed and widely delivered, including remdesivir.

U.S. Army General Gustave F. Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, explained in the DoD news story I referenced earlier that increased manufacturing and distribution capacity and capability have already started.

General Perna added that as soon as the FDA approves an effective vaccine, our military, government and private industry who have partnered together in this program will speed delivery of new products to our nation.

The next time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who like Biden’s pick for Vice President, Harris, is from San Francisco, gets on the news telling us President Trump hasn’t done anything to stop the pandemic, remember since the beginning of the pandemic at the end of last year, President Trump and his administration have fast tracked the effort to stop this virus in its tracks.

What’s Pelosi been up to?

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said when it comes to negotiating more COVID-19 relief for the millions of Americans who have been laid off and small businesses who need help meeting payroll, “The Democrats aren’t negotiating. They’re throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if Nancy doesn’t try to slip something into the bill that would allow illegal aliens the right to vote — as long as they vote Democrat.

Maybe that’s why all the Democrats wear black masks?

Back in my youth, all the bad guys wore black hats and black masks.

I suppose some things never change.

Fred Spriggs is the former news editor of the Webster County Citizen, a position he held for nearly 15 years and where he won dozens of national and state awards for journalism excellence. He now lives in rural Stone County in retirement with his wife, Julie, who also is a Seymour native.

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