The coronavirus pandemic which has been there for nearly a year has been filled with upsetting numbers, but Wednesday brought a positive one -- 1 million people have received their first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine. However, a huge demand for medical items such as medical masks, disposable gloves, protective suits is in place.
And that reported number is low since many doses administrated in recent days have yet to be tabulated within the figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency said.
"As cases of COVID-19 continuing to soar nationwide, this achievement arrives at a critical time, it can help to guard people on the frontlines -- our healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients -- also as our most vulnerable: elder individuals living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said.
The government has said it intends to distribute 20 million first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines within the coming weeks. So far, about 9.5 million doses are distributed.
Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed "It's been a big week of vaccine deliveries,", in an interview with reporters on Wednesday. "As we are delivering the 7.9 million doses of vaccine that were allocated for within the week around the country, over 7,800 deliveries by the highest of tomorrow -- a tremendous feat."
Perna said about 15.5 million doses of vaccine are allocated and another 4.5-5 million are going to be allotted next week.
Coronavirus vaccines might not work quite as well.
He stated that those deliveries will be executed in early January.
"The bulk of USA citizens, who won't be vaccinated until next year, need to be vigilant with facemasks and social distancing measures for a few months, But the vaccines will help put the pandemic behind us", Health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, long-time director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases concerned.
Nursing home vaccinations expected to rise
Thanks to coordinated efforts among the US Department of Health and Human Services and two major drugstore chains, Covid-19 vaccines have reached 238 long-term care facilities in 12 states, Perna said.
"Walgreens and CVS are being received by cheering crowds, and that they are operationalizing their efforts to make sure everybody gets the shots," Perna said during a media briefing.
Perna said 13 more states and another 1,000 facilities with residents requiring long-term care will receive vaccine doses next week.
"Every week we're just building thereon as we go," he said.
The chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed predicted officials will start to ascertain a decline within the number of individuals dying as more of the foremost vulnerable people are inoculated.
"Within fortnight from starting to immunize subjects that sleep in long-term care facilities, we should always start to determine a decrease within the general mortality within the country," Moncef Slaoui said.
It is easy to understand that the protection against the harsh disease provided by both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines will turn into the prevention of death, Slaoui said.
He said the priority should be to maximize the number of individuals in long-term care facilities who are vaccinated.
"There is an abundant supply of vaccine doses to immunize more or less 3 million individuals that sleep in such facilities," Slaoui confirmed.
Surge saw cases and now deaths and hospitalizations spike
Thousands of more families just lost a beloved this season because the US reported its second-highest number of coronavirus deaths in at some point — 3,401 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 3,000 deaths were announced Wednesday.
Hospitalizations were at an all-time high at 119,463.
In nine states, more people are hospitalized with Covid-19 than at the opposite point during this pandemic: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Doctors say many deaths happening now were likely fueled by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings since Covid-19 deaths typically happen weeks after infection.
U.K station with covid-19.
"We were bracing for this and hoping that we were wrong," said Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health & Science University.
"But every holiday has been similar. And Thanksgiving, we saw the type of travel that happened then. And people who are hospitalized in ICUs and dying now -- many of them are due to the Thanksgiving surge."
Health experts like Choo and Fauci, say subsequent 10 days could spark even more infections, hospitalizations, and deaths than Thanksgiving did.
"Consistent with AAA estimates, albeit this year's travel is about 30% but last year, it still means 84 million people are getting to be traveling over the holidays," Choo said. A long holiday is coming soon, she added.
"I feel we already understand the result, which may be into the height of January, into February. ... And it is doubtless it will be a surge on top of a surge."
A new strain has probably already spread within the US
A mutated strain of the novel coronavirus is creating worries globally-- including whether it's more transmissible and whether current Covid-19 vaccines will be efficient.
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health said he is very assured about it.
"First of all, this is not a surprise. This virus is an RNA virus. RNA viruses tend to vary their instruction books slowly over time, which ends up in these sorts of variants emerging," he said.
A new strain has probably already spread.
"The antibodies from vaccines are rather effective in attaching to many parts of the spike protein, it's a positive sign for us. Therefore, if there is a change in it -- which is what the mutant has done -- we might expect that the vaccine should still be effective against that."
Pfizer and Moderna, makers of the 2 vaccines currently being deployed within the US, said they're testing their vaccines to ascertain if they work against the new strain, which was first detected in the UK
Scientists advising the United Kingdom government estimated the new strain might be up to 70% more transmissible than other variants.
On Monday, Peter Horby, chair of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), stated that experts "have very high confidence that this variant does have a transmission advantage" over others.
The variant from the UK doesn't seem to cause more severe diseases, and it appears that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will still be effective.
On Tuesday, the CDC said, "so far, the strain has not been identified through sequencing efforts within the US, although viruses have only been sequenced from about 51,000 of the 17 million US cases,".
"I can make a guess, it's maybe in some of us,", Michael Worobey, head of the University of Arizona's department of ecology and evolutionary biology said.
"It comes at many places at various times".