COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, but Americans need should be “doubling down” on preventative measures like mask-wearing and social distancing until the vast majority are vaccinated, advised Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, on Monday. “It’s a tough situation,” said Fauci during an interview with RFDTV. “We’re having now more than 4,000 deaths per day. This is historic. We are in a very bad way right now. The only way we’re going to get out of it, as we make a link to the vaccines, is by doubling down on our adherence to public health measures, which is the uniform wearing of masks, the avoiding congregate settings in crowds—particularly indoors—keeping physical distance, washing your hands as frequently as you can.” Read on for more of this warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Deaths, hospitalizations at record levels
Last week, the country reached a new high for COVID-19 deaths (more than 4,000 a day) and total hospitalizations (more than 132,000). Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 22.5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID, and more than 375,000 have died. Fauci called the daily baseline of new cases, from 200,000 to 300,000, “extraordinarily high” and warned that “things are going to get worse before they get better,” but emphasized that Americans can blunt the pandemic’s toll by taking those precautions.
Fauci said that the recently discovered COVID-19 mutation does not seem to elude the protection afforded by the vaccines, and the fact that the mutation developed underscored the need for widespread vaccination. “The more they replicate in humans, the more they spread, you give them a greater opportunity to mutate,” said Fauci. “And that’s the reason why now that we have vaccines available and we rolled them out, we want to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. Because once you blunt the replication, you will, by definition, blunt the ease with which a particular virus mutates.”
The CDC says that as of Jan. 11, 25.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed, and nearly 8.9 million people have received the first of a two-dose regimen. That’s significantly behind the Trump administration’s original goal of having 20 million people vaccinated by Jan. 1.
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How to survive this pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.