While the United States rolled out two vaccines in December to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the month has been the deadliest for the country since the pandemic started. Over 63,000 people living in the United States have lost their lives to the infection in the past 26 days, an extreme surge in Covid-19 related deaths when compared to November, a month that recorded another grim tally of around 37,000 deaths.
The projections for the next two months are even more worrisome as another possible surge stemming from Christmas and New Year gatherings could worsen the situation. According to the predictions from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), the daily death toll could peak around mid-January and another 193,000 people could lose their lives over the next two months.
The IMHE suggests that daily deaths are the best indicator of the progression of the pandemic, although there is generally a 17-21 day lag between infection and deaths. The United States has, so far, reported nearly 332,000 Covid-19 related deaths, highest in the world, and based on the current projection scenario, the country will witness a total of over 567,000 deaths by April 1, 2021.
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Dr Leana Wen, an emergency physician, told CNN that the individuals travelling during the holidays will be most probably visiting their family and friends and having dinner without wearing masks. “I just really worry about this surge that we’re going to see and how quickly we’re going to surpass that 400,000 deaths number,” Wen was quoted as saying the US media network.
However, the immunisation drive using Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has emerged as a sigh of relief for the health authorities and Americans in general. Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced new testing requirements for inbound travellers from the United Kingdom amid concerns over new variants of SARS-CoV-2 causing rapid spread of Covid-19. The US health agency said that the air passengers arriving from the UK would require to show a negative Covid-19 test result obtained within 72 hours before the departure.