“It hurts … when I see things like begging people to do the kinds of things that you know work – mask use, physical separation – and denial,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
It was “really painful for me” to see hospitals overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, he said, and “in those same regions, there were people who denied this was happening, saying, ‘Oh, this is fake news, it’s a hoax.’ I mean, how can you say that when people die in your own state, your own city, your own county?
“Here we are today, looking at 500,000 Americans who have died so far,” Fauci said.
“That is proof of what has really been happening. It cannot be denied.”
The race to vaccinate
The United States can expect to have a total of 240 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of March, according to comments prepared by vaccine manufacturers that will be delivered to a House subcommittee Tuesday.
Pfizer and Moderna, the two companies with Covid-19 vaccines licensed for emergency use in the US, have committed to making a combined 220 million doses available for shipment by the end of March.
That would be enough to vaccinate 110 million Americans, since both vaccines require two doses.
Johnson & Johnson, which has yet to receive an emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine, has committed to making 20 million doses available in the same time frame. Your vaccine requires only one dose.
Pfizer said it expects to increase the number of doses available for shipment from about 4 million to 5 million doses per week in early February to more than 13 million doses per week by mid-March.
“We are on track to make 120 million doses available for shipment by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses by the end of May. And we anticipate that the contracted 300 million doses will be available for shipment by the end of July, allowing vaccinating up to 150 million Americans, “the company said in its prepared remarks.
Moderna, the other company with a licensed Covid-19 vaccine, said it is on track to deliver 100 million doses by the end of March and plans to double monthly deliveries in April to more than 40 million doses per month.
“Building on this progress in expanding manufacturing, we recently agreed to move forward on our delivery schedule – now our goal is to deliver a second hundred million doses by the end of May and a third of a hundred million doses by the end of July.” Moderna said. in your prepared comments.
Two other Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers that have yet to receive emergency clearance have also submitted plans.
What the United States needs to do now
Emergency doctor Dr. Leana Wen said the milestone was a reminder of “all the lives we could have saved.” And now he says he is worried about what might happen.
“My biggest fear right now is complacency,” Wen said.
“The best way for us to get back to normal is to double down right now, not take off our masks, not eat inside, not do other things that we know may risk reigniting breakouts,” said Dr. Craig Spencer, director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center.
“Most of the people in this country, despite previous infections and despite two months of vaccination, most of the people still have no protection against Covid and can become infected,” he told CNN. “This is not over and we have to redouble.”
That means keeping hiding, distancing yourself socially, avoiding crowded areas, washing your hands regularly, and practicing the safety measures that have so far worked to slow the spread of infections.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said that while the numbers may go in the right direction, “cases, hospital admissions and deaths remain at very high levels.” .
New cases have been declining steadily for five weeks, Walensky said Monday. But the US continues to add tens of thousands of new infections daily. In February alone, more than two million new cases of Covid-19 have been registered.
And every day, Covid-19 loses hundreds of lives. More than 1,300 deaths were reported Monday, according to Johns Hopkins data, and more than 52,000 have been reported this month.
“While the pandemic is moving in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done,” Walensky said.
Study: Smell and Taste After Covid-19 May Not Return for Months
And for many people who survived a bout of the disease, the symptoms continue.
In fact, Canadian researchers reported Monday that people’s sense of smell and taste may not return for up to five months after becoming infected with the coronavirus.
A team from the University of Quebec surveyed more than 800 healthcare workers who tested positive for the virus. They rated their sense of smell and taste on a scale of zero to 10 and some were asked to take a test at home to further assess these senses.
During the initial infection, more than 70% of those who participated in the survey reported losing their sense of smell and 65% reported losing their sense of taste, the researchers said in preliminary results.
Five months later, when they used a home test, 17% of the participants said they still had a loss of smell and 9% of the people had a persistent loss of taste.
“Our results show that an alteration of the sense of smell and taste can persist in several people with Covid-19,” said Dr. Johannes Frasnelli of the University of Quebec, who worked on the study, in a statement.
“This emphasizes the importance of keeping track of people who have been infected and more research is needed to discover the scope of neurological problems associated with Covid-19.”
CDC Announces Emergency Vaccine Advisors Meeting
Meanwhile, as the US scrambles for more injections, another vaccine could soon get the green light for the US market.
On Friday, an FDA advisory group will discuss the application and the company’s data. Based on the counselor’s guidance, the FDA may choose to give the vaccine the green light. The CDC advisers will then discuss their own vaccine launch recommendations, which will then need to be formally accepted by the CDC.
The CDC announced an emergency meeting of its vaccine advisers from February 28 to March 1.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson will testify Tuesday that it can deliver enough doses by the end of March to vaccinate more than 20 million Americans, helping to increase the country’s existing supply.
About 19.4 million have received both doses, the data shows. That’s less than 6% of the US population.
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Naomi Thomas, Amanda Watts, Christopher Rios, Jen Christensen, and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.