Today is January 24, 2021. The first case of COVID in the United States was diagnosed one year ago. As of yesterday, we recorded 427,635 American deaths from COVID. Since the last time I wrote (January 8), and additional 53,438 Americans have died, or an average of 3143 deaths a day over the last 17 days.
At that rate, it would take 182 days for another 572,365 Americans to die from COVID. In other words, at the current fatality rate, sometime in July, we will reach the grim milestone of one million Americans dying from COVID.
As of yesterday, the CDC reported that 20,537,990 vaccine doses have been administered. The first dose of vaccine was on December 14, so approximately 20 million doses have been administered in 40 days, or 500,000 doses a day. That number will increase, and the current goal is 1 million doses per day. However, even at that rate, it will take 400 days to administer 2 doses to 200 million people, or 2/3 of the American population.
There are also confirmed reports of “variants”, or virus mutations. These variants have been noted to be more infectious than the current strain. That means that if our current practices of social distancing, mask-wearing, etc. do not change, the rates of infection will likely increase in the next 6-8 weeks. There are some forecasts that one strain (B.1.1.7) will become the predominant strain of COVID in the United States by the end of March.
What to do about this? I’ll quote the scientists who authored the linked report: “Collectively, enhanced genomic surveillance combined with increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, including vaccination, physical distanc- ing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, will be essential to limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and protecting public health. “