Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A pandemic update from Michigan as vaccinations ramp up while U.S. death toll passes 400,000

It's been only two weeks since I posted More than 20 million COVID-19 cases and 350,000 deaths in U.S., the first pandemic update of 2021, but both the efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the deaths from it are accelerating. CBS This Morning reported on both in U.S. works to speed up vaccinations as coronavirus deaths near 400,000, focusing on how health services in Michigan are working to speed up vaccinations.*

New vaccination centers are popping up as states try to get the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities. One Michigan doctor is doing what he can to help. Lead national correspondent David Begnaud is driving hundreds of miles twice a week to personally deliver COVID-19 vaccines to clinics.
Using a Sears automotive department to administer vaccines is not the intersection between the pandemic and the Retail Apocalypse, I was expecting, but I'm glad to see the space being used, especially for a good purpose like this. Speaking of good purposes, watching Dr. Richard Bates deliver vaccine to Alpena warmed my heart even has he was keeping the vaccine cold.

What's also warming my heart is how Wayne County is responding to adversity, such as a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine, which is produced in Michigan. WDIV reported Wayne County transitioning to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine last night.

Wayne County is transitioning to Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Those who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will still receive the second dose.
WXYZ also reported Wayne County switching to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine after rescheduling appointments this morning.

Wayne County is expected to receive 5,500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday as the county will no longer receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Both stations reported from Schoolcraft College, where I used to teach. I'm glad to see my former employer pitching in with the vaccination effort.

Finally, CBS Detroit excerpted a segment from Dr. Oz in Why Getting Vaccinated Isn’t Just About Covid-19 – The Other Pandemic Left By Unemployment, Addiction.

Dr. Oz and Surgeon General Jerome Adams discuss how this pandemic is impacting people who aren’t even at the risk of dying or ending up in the hospital from the virus.
Between the coronavirus pandemic and other causes of excess death, More than 3 million people died in 2020 – the deadliest year in US history as USA Today reported last month.
This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time – due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic.

Final mortality data for this year will not be available for months. But preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.

U.S. deaths increase most years, so some annual rise in fatalities is expected. But the 2020 numbers amount to a jump of about 15%, and could go higher once all the deaths from this month are counted.

That would mark the largest single-year percentage leap since 1918, when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a flu pandemic. Deaths rose 46% that year, compared with 1917.
The result is that the pandemic has reversed the good news about life expectancy I discussed on World Population Day last year, when I reported that U.S. life expectancy increased for 1st time since 2014. For 2020, USA Today predicted that "life expectancy for 2020 could end up dropping as much as three full years, said Robert Anderson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yikes! When the CDC releases the final numbers, I'll be sure to cover them. Stay tuned.

*Just a few hours ago after CBS News broadcast that segment, NBC News reported U.S. surpasses 400,000 Covid deaths nearly one year after nation's first confirmed case, adding "24 million people have been infected in the U.S., the highest number of confirmed cases in the world. California on Monday became the first state to reach 3 million cases, and Los Angeles county crossed the 1 million case mark over the weekend, according to the NBC News tally." Yowza, that's grim news!  Stay safe, everyone!

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