The United States is likely to be celebrating a major milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic very soon, as the vaccine will likely be getting approved for emergency use very soon, and distribution can begin. The approval couldn’t come at a better time as the daily coronavirus death toll reached a record high of 3,124 this past Wednesday; surpassing the amount of American deaths that occurred on 9/11, and experts hear this is just the beginning of a massive final wave of infections.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a composite forecast that projects the US hitting up to 362,000 Covid-19 deaths by January 2nd. Hospitalizations reached a record high this week as well with over 106,000 Covid-related cases. More than 221,000 infections were also reported in a single day, which according to former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is just the beginning.
“We are in a totally unprecedented health crisis in this country. The disease is everywhere — Midwest, West Coast, East Coast, North, South. Health care workers are exhausted. Hospitals are totally full.”
Vaccine advisers working for the US Food and Drug Administration are currently meeting to discuss the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine and will hopefully grant emergency use authorization by the end of the week so that Americans can start being vaccinated by the end of the month.
According to Sebelius, Covid-19 vaccines are a “really significant light at the end of the tunnel, but in the coming months it’s crucial that Americans stay vigilant and follow safety guidelines, like wearing face masks, social distancing and hunkering down in their social bubbles. We’ve got to take what we’ve learned in the last eight months and really put it into practice, so we don’t continue to have this unthinkable death toll and disease too.”
“Let’s say we get 80% of the population vaccinated. I believe if we do it efficiently enough, by the time we get to the end of the summer we may actually have enough herd immunity protecting our society through the end of 2021.”
One big challenge that the US could face, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, is getting everyone to take the vaccine. As of right now there’s an underlying level of trust that a majority of the American people have seen the destruction and devastation this virus, and lack of political action, has taken on the country within the past year, which will then prompt them to take the vaccine.
Federal, state, and local leaders are all doubling down on enforcing health and safety measures in their communities and will continue to do so even as the vaccine begins distribution. Another major fear that experts are concerned with is citizens thinking that just because they themselves are vaccinated, or the fact that people are being vaccinated in general, is enough for life to automatically return to normal.
The reality is, we will likely have to be wearing masks and social distancing well into the end of 2021 based on how long it will take for enough of a herd immunity to be built in the US for all of us to be living our lives in close proximity without fear again. Within the next few weeks, it’s projected that about 20 million Americans will receive the PFizer vaccine. These individuals will likely all be healthcare industry workers or elderly people who are especially vulnerable to contracting Covid-19.
In the UK thousands of individuals have already received the initial dose of the Pfizer vaccination, and Canada just approved it as well for emergency use authorization. The FDA is “not cutting any corners,” according to Fauci, before giving Pfizer the seal of approval, so for now, continue to listen to your healthcare providers and abide by all health and safety measures.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.