The United States has hit another milestone in this pandemic as the Covid-19 cases in the US has officially crossed the 10 million mark. The country has also averaged more than 100,000 cases for a consecutive period of seven days. More than fifty million people have been infected by the virus globally and around 1.25 million have died of it, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Michael Osterholm believes that the covid-19 cases in the US could reach 200,000 in a day in few days and that won’t surprise him. He said that the cases of the coronavirus are increasing in the country in such great amounts that no one could have ever predicted. Osterholm has been selected as a part of the Covid-19 advisory board by Joe Biden.
The seven-day average of new covid-19 cases in the US was around 120,000 on Monday, which was nearly three times more than it was in September. Not only the increasing number of cases is alarming but also on Monday according to the Covid Tracking Project there were more than 59,000 hospitalizations. That’s the highest number of hospitalizations since the 25th of July but a little less from the 15th of April when the pandemic was at its peak with 59,940.
With increasing hospitalizations across the country, it becomes more likely that the deaths will also increase. In the last five days on average, more than 1,000 people in the US have died, the first time it has happened since August. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 238,000 people in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins. Moreover, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington has predicted that another 110,000 people could die of the virus in the next two months.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar believe that a vaccine for the coronavirus shall be available for the most vulnerable people in the US by the end of December and for all the citizens by the end of March or the start of April. Azar made those comments a day after Pfizer announced that its covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective.
Azar said that Pfizer will be making and delivering nearly 20 million doses of the vaccine every month, starting by the end of November. He also said that Moderna is also producing its own covid-19 vaccine candidate. Azar added that by the end of December there will be enough doses of the vaccine to vaccinate the most vulnerable people, and by the end of January there will be enough vaccines for all first responders and health care workers, and by the end of March there will be enough vaccines for all the citizens of the US.
Pfizer’s vice president of Global Drug Safety Research and Development Dr. John Burkhardt said the distribution of the company’s covid-19 vaccine will be a challenge as the temperature required to store the vaccine is extremely low, far lower than the capacity of average freezers. However, Dr. Burkhardt assures that a group of very talented and experienced people of Pfizer is working to solve this.