The Weekly Covid-19 Update
January of 2021 has been the most devastating month of the coronavirus pandemic for the United States. According to the Associated Press, the death toll reached 440,000 and 95,000 of those lives were lost just last month. However, the country’s number of hospitalizations dropped has finally dropped below 100,000 and cases are on the decline. Nevertheless, 120,000 more Americans are expected to die from Covid-19 in the next two months, according to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. This rate is still slower than the previous coronavirus death rate.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warns that while the rate of infection is slowing, deaths are still “extraordinarily high” and Americans should not be so quick to let their guard down. With the Super Bowl this weekend people may be eager to watch with friends and family, but Walensky advises to celebrate virtually or with people only from your immediate household.
With some states lifting restrictions as a result of the decline in cases, experts are concerned that cases will go right back up. Dr. Bill Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, says that communities seem to be rushing to reopen things like bars and worries that people have not learned their lesson.
In addition to concerns around reopening, the Covid-19 variants from the UK, Brazil and South Africa have now been identified in patients in the United States. The amount of cases of these variants is currently unknown, but Schaffner worries that they could soon be rampant.
In other pandemic news, Covid-19 vaccines will start making their ways to retail pharmacies beginning February 11th, according to the Biden administration. Jeff Zients, Biden’s coronavirus coordinator, says the vaccine supply will be limited to “socially vulnerable communities”, i.e. elderly folks, medical staff and essential workers.
While information around the coronavirus is constantly changing, do not get too overwhelmed. You can help keep coronavirus away by wearing a mask (or two), social distancing, staying home as much as possible, and staying informed via the Protect Your Health blog spot.