The United States is about to hit another milestone in terms of Covid deaths. Nearly 500,000 Americans will have died from Covid since the first recorded case in the United States last year. This means more Americans will have died from the virus than both World Wars and the Vietnam War combined. President Biden is putting an order for a candlelit memorial and a moment of silence. He also calls for federal building flags to be at half-staff for five days.
“In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening. I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset. I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021.”
The CDC is highly encouraging the use of wearing double masks in order to combat the new strains of the virus. The first American case of the South African covid variant was just reported in Long Island. The vaccine may not be as preventative of combatting this South African variant, meaning a vaccine specifically targeting the South African strain may be necessary. The CDC recommends wearing a surgical mask pinched at the nose for a secure fit, layered with a cloth mask on top. This ensures the mask will not slip and need to be constantly readjusted, eliminating unnecessary contact to the nose, mouth, and eye area.
Dr. Fauci stated that it may be necessary for masks to be worn in 2022 with the rate at which the virus is spreading.
The vaccine rollout has not been as successful as expected. The demand for doses is far greater than the supply. There are also issues regarding making appointments, transportation to vaccine sites, and ensuring that vaccines — that require two appointments — are completed. Covid disproportionately affects Latinx and Black communities, as well as those facing poverty.
With the Texas power outages and severe weather conditions, at least six million vaccine doses were delayed. Johnson and Johnson are working on releasing a new vaccine that is only one dose. This is important, especially for those who cannot take off work twice or get necessary transportation or assistance for two vaccine appointments.
According to NPR, over 63 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the US or an estimated 13.1% of the United States population.