America just crossed the devastating milestone of half a million Covid-19 deaths, which is more than the number of American lives lost during World War II. Moreover, America’s 500,000 death toll is significantly higher than any other hard-hit nation, and easily twice that of the second-highest Brazil (with a death toll of 247,000).
According to Johns Hopkins University data, the US has confirmed a total of 28.1 million infections which is almost twice the number reported in Brazil (10.1 million) and India (11 million).
And though the number of new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have come down, the figures still remain high. For instance, on February 22nd, the country recorded 59,462 new cases and 1,454 deaths —which is relatively small compared to the horrifying January extremes — but these numbers independently taken, are still quite worrisome.
As per the forecast from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a minimum of 90,000 more Americans will die from the virus by June.By late May, the death rate is expected to come down to 500 per day, which is a quarter of what it is now (2000 per day).
While the virus numbers are decreasing, the spread of the highly contagious variants is picking momentum. This is why health experts and officials believe we are currently at a crossroads in the pandemic.
Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez, says,
“I am worried about this variant -- the B.1.1.7 variant (first found in the UK). If that takes over, the numbers are going to start to spiral up again. There's no end to what the death toll will look like unless we can vaccinate ahead of it."
The IHME team insists it is not yet time to let our guards down. In fact, how we handle ourselves as a community now will shape what happens next. Now is the time to get vaccinated and continue taking the recommended preventive measures. The team has stated,
“Managing the epidemic in the next four months depends critically on scaling up vaccination, trying to increase the fraction of adults willing to be vaccinated above three-quarters.”
The team then strongly encouraged,“continued mask use and avoiding situations where transmission is likely, such as indoor dining, going to bars, or indoor gatherings with individuals outside the household."
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