NBC news is among the first major news outlets to release and confirm the dubious distinction that America has hit 1 million COVID-19 related deaths. That doesn’t not include the related deaths because of the lack of healthcare resources, and permanent disabilities incurred because of the virus. In just over two years the death toll has risen exponentially, attributed both to the unwillingness of many American from getting the free vaccine, and curtailing public health measures.
By the middle of February, most modelling predicts that at least 50% of Americans will have been infected with the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
This prediction is based on infection rate, whereas many states are showing possibilities of peak infection. That only means, however, that we’re at the mid-way point of this particular infectious wave.
Case counts for the US appear to have peaked at a 7-day average of 806k on Jan 14. Omicron grew from approximately 35k daily cases on Dec 14 to ~800k daily cases in ~4 weeks. 1/9 pic.twitter.com/D1Y6R58SjN
Not only are Americans permitted to access vaccines and boosters for free, they can now order free N95 masks to be delivered by USPS. With the onslaught of Omicron, cloth or disposable surgical masks are no longer adequate to protect against the virus. The use of N95, at minimum, masks is the new recommendation. Ensuring access to as many people as possible is crucial to tapering the rising wave of infections.
The Biden administration will make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting next week, a White House official told CNN, the latest federal step aimed at reining in the US’ Covid-19 surge.
The masks — which are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile — will be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers, the official said, adding that the program will be “fully up and running by early February.”
Vaccine access will be a discussion topics for months and even years to come. “Rich” countries, beginning with the United States, have ensured their population has first access to the vaccines, namely Pfizer and Moderna. Other countries follow suit, and although there’s been gaps of months for these countries, supply is now picking up steam and more and more people are getting jabs in arms. Canada is now the leading country in terms of percentage of population with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now it’s a matter of distribution and increasing access for the entire world, not just those who can hoard vaccine volume/shots.
In medieval times the term hospice meant a refuge for ill or tired travellers. In other countries hospices are specific buildings where care is provided only for patients of life limiting illnesses. However in the US hospice care is a term that denotes care to the terminally ill patient at the location of his or her choosing. That location can be the patient’s home, a family member’s home or an institution. The concept of hospice is the recognition of the end of life as part of a natural process. The desire is to help a patient at that stage cope with that progression as positively and with as much dignity and respect as possible. Hospice care also recognizes the importance of the involvement of the patient’s family in the decisions involved in the patient’s care.
There were initial reports of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a slightly lower effective rate compared to the primary North American vaccines made by Moderna and Phizer. Couple that with recent dubious concerns that the AZ vaccine was causing health problems (blood clots), and many governments paused distribution. That also meant general populations refused to take it, thereby stigmatizing the vaccine in a time when ANY vaccine is the right one. These are valid concerns by the public, but with additional information becoming available, those concerns must be put to rest. It also behooves governments that have approved the vaccine (or will), to do a better job with public health communication to dispel any rumours AstraZeneca isn’t a “good” vaccine. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the study of 30,000 people, the vaccine was 79% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 — including in older adults. There were no severe illnesses or hospitalizations among vaccinated volunteers, compared with five such cases in participants who received dummy shots — a small number, but consistent with findings from Britain and other countries that the vaccine protects against the worst of the disease.
The Conservative government from over 30 years ago, in the typical conservative fashion of dismantling public sectors, mothballed Canada’s capacity to produce and research vaccines domestically. The effects are in full view as the country struggles to ascertain supply of the COVID vaccine from any number of manufacturers. Countries where those vaccines are being produced are preventing supply from leaving their countries until their populations are fully vaccinated. Regardless of agreements in place, there’s little the Canadian government can do to scramble and get more supply for their slow vaccine rollout.
This is of course part of the ‘first world problem’. Those that can produce will be vaccinated first, and those without, will wait until the end of the year for their share.
For once, it pays to have an ‘advanced’ healthcare system like the US, albeit not single payer. Which means, although America may have the worse access to healthcare for those who can’t afford it (a majority of the population), access to the COVID vaccine is readily available.
THe ineptitude in America surrounding anti-masks protesting and individualism (culturally important to Americans), the proliferation of COVID is the result. The largest tally of deaths to COVID-19 is America. The largest impact for the after affects, it will be America. The population, particularly if you’re poor, is monumental.
But, America also has among the fastest rollouts of vaccination. At this point it’s our only hope to combat the ineptitude of federal and certain state level governments who have refused to treat the pandemic seriously.
But don’t stop now. Americans love to be #1 at everything, and for the past week they’ve eclipsed even themselves. On Nov. 12th, the U.S. reported 150,000 new coronavirus cases, setting world record for 3rd day in a row.