Dr Anthony Fauci has warned the start of coronavirus vaccine distribution won’t stop the current surge in deaths from the novel virus, as he says the Christmas season could be worse than ever for the pandemic.
The nation’s leading vaccine expert was asked on Monday about what the latest coronavirus vaccine news could mean for the American public.
Although the vaccine news showed promise – as several pharmaceutical companies applied for emergency authorisation through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Dr Fauci warned deaths due to Covid-19 would not diminish immediately.
“It's likely you're not going to see a measurable diminution for at least several weeks or if not longer,' Dr Fauci told CNN’s John Berman.
“But it will come, I guarantee you,” he added.
Health officials have reminded the public that the vast majority of Americans won’t have access to a coronavirus vaccine until late spring 2021 at earliest. This means public health guidelines like wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings would still be imperative for the months to come to curb the spread of the novel virus.
Americans were asked to forgo normal Thanksgiving plans and instead only celebrate within their immediate household, but public health officials still anticipated a surge in the coming weeks.
Dr Fauci told CNN that he held the same concerns about Christmas as he did with the Thanksgiving holiday, “only this may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday.”
When it came to Thanksgiving, Americans only celebrated at the end of the week and then went back to work. But Christmas starts several days before the actual day and then will go on until New Year’s Day.
“I think it could be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving,” Dr Fauci said. “I hope that people realize that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify – if not essentially shut down – their holiday season, but we are in a very critical time in this country right now.”
“We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data,” he added. “This is tough going for all of us.”
Coronavirus cases, hospitalisations, and deaths all spiked last week with the United States breaking several grim records.
On Wednesday, the US recorded its highest single-day death toll of 2,733 Americans dying from the novel virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project. In total, more than 282,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.
Then on Thursday, the US recorded its highest number of people in hospitals due to Covid-19 – 100,755 hospitalisations. Almost 228,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in a single day on Friday, the most since the start of the pandemic.
This current surge has influenced several states to implement stricter coronavirus guidelines in an effort to stop the spread of the novel virus.
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