This is our target date to get life in America closer to normal and to begin to celebrate our independence from the virus together with our friends and loved ones as we — to celebrate Independence Day. But before that, I wanted to speak briefly to all of you today about the recent change announced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC. Cases and deaths are down — down dramatically from where they were when I took office on January 20th, and continuing to fall. That is particularly true for a group of Americans that we were most worried about when it came to this virus: senior citizens. When I took office in January, we were losing literally tens of thousands of our seniors each week. Grandparents who were loved so dearly, moms and dads, pillars of every community — gone by the thousands every day.
Be grateful you, everybody, for -- for body here and thank you for those who are on the phone this morning. As we promised about two weeks ago, that we would be giving you regular updates on our COVID response and -- and vaccine distribution plans, that's what we're at this juncture to do today. As many of you know, the Department of Defense has long been planning a phased, standardized, and coordinated strategy for prioritizing, distributing and administering COVID vaccines en route for protect our people, maintain readiness, after that support the national COVID response. We're going to cover five specific pieces of information that are of consequence to the force and the broadcast -- the size of the early DOD allocation, the prioritization schema designed for the populations who receive the vaccine first, our priority plan phases designed for the distribution, the locations of the initial vaccine distributions and the all-purpose allocations, and the timeline for early distribution and next phases of the distribution and vaccinations.