Hopeful Predictions for the Summer Despite New Record of COVID-19 Deaths
January 22, 2021
The US welcomes the new year on a tragic note and prepares to counter the effects of a pandemic that is currently taking 3,300 lives per day. A recent CNN article titled "The US just suffered its worst day ever for Covid-19 deaths. But this summer could be 'dramatically better'"
describes some of the plans and predictions made by different health authorities as the US reports its highest number of COVID-19 deaths.
On Tuesday January 12th, Johns Hopkins University revealed a shocking record of 4,327 COVID-19 deaths
, while hospitals in different parts of the country are sitting at the brink of their capacity. The crises seen in states like Arizona and Louisiana have prompted a new wave of safety measures, as well as questions regarding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The two vaccines making the rounds are administered in two shots, with the Pfizer vaccine spacing these shots for 21 days and the Moderna vaccine requiring 28 days between each dose. Evidence from previous studies indicate that there is no room for delays in the distribution of the vaccine's second dose.
Even though more than 27.6 million doses have been distributed, reports state that only 9.3 million people have gotten the first shot of the vaccine. Many argue that the measures taken to follow the distribution guidelines are partially to blame for the rollout delays.
Infection Rates Soar Among Children and College Counties
The ongoing spike of new COVID-19 cases has left a significant impact on the younger population, with almost 2.3 million children testing positive for the virus during the first week of 2021. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, the current number of infections shows a 15% increase of infections among children, who now take 12.5% of the infections in the country.
On the same note, 26 U.S. college counties have seen a case increase of 50% now that students are gearing up for the first semester of 2021. Even with students off-campus, the number of cases has skyrocketed in college towns like Williamsburg, (Virginia), Whitman County (Washington), and Albany County (Wyoming).
Having anticipated a surge of new cases after the holiday season, medical experts are now collecting data to mitigate the effects of the spread and prevent long-term problems on the people infected.
New Vaccination Policies Might Change the Odds by June
While health officials agree with the priorities set by the CDC to regulate the distribution of the vaccine, they have also stressed the importance of making doses available on a wider scale. "We are telling states they should open vaccinations to all people ... 65 and over and all people under age 65 with a comorbidity with some form of medical documentation," says Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
With different reports of vaccines sitting in freezers after reaching the hospitals, the plan is to give pharmacists the resources to provide 100 million doses per month. Health officials will evaluate the state's administration, its reporting capacity, and the size of its high-risk population.
Medical experts expect a steady increase of new cases and deaths throughout the winter but have their hopes set on the summer season. They anticipate that warmer weather, the arrival of two new vaccines, and a new wave of mass vaccinations might tip the scales in the upcoming months.
Paul Offit, a member of the US Food and Drug Administration's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, says that the vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca "are right around the corner." The Johnson & Johnson vaccine exhibited promising results during its early-stage trials. Offit goes on to say that it is possible to stop the spread of the virus by June if the US sets its sights on providing 1 million - 1.5 million doses a day.
Federal officials and medical experts are focusing all their efforts on improving the allocation and distribution of the approved vaccines, hoping to make progress in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.
You can read the full article here: The US Just Suffered its Worst Day Ever for Covid-19 Deaths. But this Summer Could Be 'Dramatically Better'