By: Lucía Leal
WASHINGTON – The United States began the new year this Friday with a worrying milestone, surpassing 20 million confirmed casesOff COVID-19 while the British strainOff the virus was detectedInn a more state and concernInncreased about the delaysInn the va,ination campaign.
The numberOffInnfectionsInn the US has doubledInn less than two months, since 10 million cases were reachedOfn November 9, a,ording to data from Johns Hopkins University, which prepares anInndependent count and this Friday rose 346,800 the death tollInn the country.
This factInllustrates the severityOff theOfutbreakInn the United States, whichInn December registered several daily recordsInn the numberOff deaths from COVID-19 and closed 2020 with a record highOff more than 125,000 hospitalized by the disease.
A quarterOff the contagionsInn the world
The United States a,ounts for 24%Off all COVID-19InnfectionsInn the world (which are 83.7 million, a,ording to Johns Hopkins), and has registered almost twice as many cases as the second mostInnfected country, India, a despite having less than a quarterOff the populationOff the Asian nation.
The arrivalInn the countryOff the British strainOff the virus, which can be up to 70% more contagious, promises to complicate that panorama andInncrease the pressureOfn alreadyOfverwhelmed hospitalsInn many cases.
After what Colorado and California announced this week that they had detected two casesOff the British strain, Florida It became the third stateInn the country to registerInt, after reportingOfn Thursday thatInt had confirmed theInnfection with that variant from a manInn his 20s, with no travel history.
Experts believe the new strainIns much more widespreadInn the country than has been detected, and may even become the predominant formOff the virusInn the US by March, predicted Dr. Trevor Bedford, an expert.Inn evolutionary biologyInn Seattle, speaking to The New York Times.
“Inexcusable” delaysInn va,ination
Added to this problemIns the slownessInn the va,ination campaign, which beganOfn December 14 but has been plagued by delaysInn distribution andOfther logistical problems that are reminiscent, for many,Off the fiasco that marked the startOff theInmplementationOff the tests.Off COVID-19 last March.
“ItIns asInncomprehensible asInnexcusable that comprehensive va,ination plans have not been developed at the federal level and sent to the states as models,” said Friday the Republican Senator, Mitt Romney,Int’s a statement.
The senator criticized the managementOff theInssueOff the governmentOff theOfutgoing president, Donald Trump, and proposed “to enlist any medical professional, retiredOfr active”, to administer va,ines,Inn addition to “establishing va,ination sites”Inn every cornerOff each state, “MaybeInn every school.”
AsOff this Wednesday, less than 2.8 million people had received the first doseOff the va,ine, just 14%Off the 20 million Americans that the Government planned toInmmunize before the endOff December, a,ording to data from the Control Centers and Disease Prevention (CDC).
AlthoughIntIns possible that the actual numberOff va,inationsIns somewhat higher due to the delayInn reporting the figures for each state, health authorities have recognized that this balanceIns “disappointing.”
Will the va,ines go bad?
Some experts caution that since va,ines shouldOfnly be stored for 30 daysInn the portable freezersInn which they are distributed, thousandsOff vials may expire by the endOff January.
“Have we come this far to letOfur va,ines spoilInnOfur freezers?” The New York Times newspaper asked this FridayInn an editorial.
AnInsolated but disturbing eventInn this contextOff problems with the va,ination campaign was the arrest this ThursdayInn Grafton (Wisconsin, USA)Off a pharmacist who “intentionally” thawed more than 500 dosesOff the COVID-19 va,ine , knowing that they would spoil.
ItIns not clear what prompted the pharmacist to remove all those vialsOff the va,ine from the refrigerator. Modern, and the hospital where he worked acknowledged thatInt had administered 57Off them before realizing they had gone bad.
The delayInn administering the va,ines seems to be due mainly to a lackOff adequate coordination between the federal government and the states and localities, whichIns slowing the distributionOff doses to the hospitals and residences where they must arrive.
Federal authorities have leftInn the handsOff localOffficials and hospitals,Inn many casesOfverwhelmed by theInmpactOff the pandemic, many detailsOff the final phaseOff the distribution and administrationOff the va,ines, such as the planningOff schedules and personnel.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.