Vaccinations are increasing in a 'glimmer of hope'
(Sourced from PTI)
The US ramped up COVID-19 vaccinations in the past few days, bringing the number of shots dispensed to about four million people, government health officials said on Sunday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, also said on ABC's This Week that President-elect Joe Biden's pledge to administer 100 million shots of the vaccine within his first 100 days in office is achievable.
Recently, President Donald Trump falsely tweeted that the outbreak has been far exaggerated because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ridiculous methodology. Dr. Fauci rejected the tweet saying on NBC's Meet the Press, "Go into the trenches, go into the hospitals, go into the intensive care units, and see what is happening. Those are real numbers, real people, and real deaths."
The US has the highest death toll of over 350,000, and 20 million people have been infected nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's data. States have reported record numbers of cases over the past few days. Funeral homes in Southern California are being inundated with bodies. Experts believe that the real numbers are much higher and many cases were overlooked because of insufficient testing.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the pandemic is getting worse in his city as the virus spreads rapidly within households and people let their guard down with news of a vaccine's arrival. "This is a virus that preys off of our weakness, preys off of our exhaustion," he said on CBS' Face the Nation.
However, Dr. Fauci sees some glimmer of hope after 1.5 million doses were administered in the previous 72 hours. He acknowledged the US fell short of its goal of having 20 million doses shipped and distributed by the end of December, but also said that the momentum will pick up by mid-January and the US will be vaccinating one million people a day.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed's chief science adviser, the government's vaccine development and distribution effort, told CBS that 17.5 million doses have been shipped. About 13 million doses have been distributed to places where they will be administered, according to Dr. Fauci. "The goal hasn't been reached because medical facilities had to stay focused on testing," US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said.
Worryingly, Dr. Fauci and others have warned that another surge is likely because of holiday gatherings and the cold weather keeping people indoors. Arizona on Sunday reported a one-day record of more than 17,200 new cases. Health officials said the increase appears to reflect infections from Christmas gatherings but was also probably inflated by a reporting lag over New Year's weekend.