Covid-19 Cases Growing as the U.S. Nears Vaccine Approval

As the United States nears its approval of a Covid-19 vaccine, deaths from the virus continue to rise with a new record high of 3,124, as per John Hopkins University. Wednesday December 9th, the number surpassed the amount of deaths tragically lost in the 9/11 attacks and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects a total of 332,000 to 362,000 coronavirus deaths by January 2nd. 

In addition to increased deaths, the US also tallied its highest amount of COVID-19 hospitalizations 106,688 current hospitalizations as of Wednesday and 221,000 new infections reported, according to the COVID Tracking Project. In California for the sixth consecutive day, more than 20,000 new cases have been reported and Virginia and Idaho are seeing some of their highest numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.

In response to the increase in cases, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has extended the Safer at Home order and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has put in place a 12am to 5am curfew and places tighter restrictions on various types of social gatherings. Along with many other states rolling out restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus, 80% of California is under a stay-at-home that still allows retail stores and malls to operate at limited capacity. 

While cases continue to rise, the approval of a Covid-19 vaccine grows closer with Pfizer showing no concerns thus far. According to Dr. William Gruber, senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at Pfitzer, out of 44,000 participants, there were no serious allergic reactions to the coronavirus vaccine. However, two health workers in Britain were administered the vaccine and reported allergic reactions, says the National Health Service in England.

Moderna, the competing coronavirus vaccine, has also conducted clinical trials with 30,000 participants of various ages, ethnicities and health conditions. Senior vice president of Moderna Lavina Talukdar, says the vaccine has been extremely effective with 94.4% efficacy, with just a 10% level of fatigue for 1-3 days after vaccination. State health officials in New Hampshire, where the pharmaceutical company is based, hope to have the first round of Moderna available next week.

As we await the promising covid-19 vaccines, it remains important to continue to practice social distancing, wash our hands and wear masks as necessary.

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