Monday, January 4, 2021

More than 20 million COVID-19 cases and 350,000 deaths in U.S., the first pandemic update of 2021

I have been so occupied with the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, retrospectives, and holidays that I haven't written a serious post focusing solely on the COVID-19 pandemic since 11 million COVID-19 diagnoses in U.S., another vaccine announcement, and Michigan 'pauses' to slow the pandemic, second update for November 2020, a month and a half ago, although I have been letting my Saturday Night Live recaps do some of that work for me. Now, there are more than 20 million diagnosed cases in the U.S. alone and more than 350,000 deaths. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Americans and others are being vaccinated. However, there are problems getting enough vaccines to enough people fast enough, which is more bad news. Watch the latest video clip from CBS News about deaths and vaccinations, U.S. surpasses 350,000 coronavirus deaths as vaccinations lag, uploaded just before noon today.

The U.S. is bracing for a post-holiday surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as President Trump continues to downplay the severity of the virus. Dr. Ron Elfenbein joins CBSN to discuss the pandemic and why the vaccine distribution plan is lagging behind expectations.
The U.S. could easily surpass 500,000 cases by the end of winter while vaccinations lag behind the rate required to have more Americans vaccinated than have contracted the virus by then. As for the ways people are trying to stretch the vaccine supply, which in the I find perverse in the U.S. because the rate of vaccinations is lagging behind the rate of doses delivered, I think that's as risky as the two anchors are saying. I'm not convinced that will work well enough.

CBS News had more on the pandemic late last night, reporting Spike in COVID-19 cases expected from holiday travel in U.S.

Some experts predict the next month could be the worst part of the pandemic so far in the U.S., after millions of people traveled for the holidays. The new, more transmissible COVID-19 variant — first detected in the U.K. — is now in the states, and vaccinations are happening much more slowly than predicted. Dr. Stanley Perlman joins CBSN's Lana Zak to discuss the latest on the pandemic.
None of this is good news. Americans are acting in ways that are accelerating the spread while a more infectious strain has now arrived in the country and will increase cases even more rapidly than the previous strain. Also, as the later video above reported, people aren't getting vaccinated as quickly as anticipated.

Working backwards, CBS Evening News reported Vaccinations still lagging as U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million on Saturday night.

Across the U.S., nearly 3 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered thus far — nowhere close to Operation Warp Speed’s goal of administering 20 million doses by the end of 2020. U.S. infections are now over 20 million cases with over 349,000 deaths. Tom Hanson reports.
Whether on its broadcast network or streaming channel, CBS News has clearly established the narrative that vaccines aren't being administered as fast as either officials hoped or Americans need. To repeat what I wrote first for the first two pandemic updates and quoted in Samantha Bee wishes her viewers 'A Very COVID Thanksgiving', "I see a second light down the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. Unfortunately, the first light definitely is a locomotive bearing down on us. We have to do our best to dodge it until the vaccines become available in the spring." Looks like I was right about the timing for most of us; it will be spring before the bulk of Americans have an opportunity to get the vaccinations. In the meantime, be patient and stay safe.

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