A rising death toll in the United States has dampened enthusiasm for the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine with 9/11-like deaths projected every day for months to come, including with a rapid rollout of vaccines, which could begin Monday. Another 2,902 deaths were reported in the United States on Thursday, a day after a record 3,253 people died, a rate expected to continue for the next two to three months until the vaccine can be widely distributed.
Those daily tolls are roughly equivalent to the 2,996 killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks and greater than the 2,403 killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, traumatic events that reshaped America for years. “Probably over the next 60 to 90 days, we’re going to have more deaths per day than we had on 9/11 or we had at Pearl Harbor,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disease Council, he told the Council on Foreign Relations on Thursday.
“The reality is that the vaccine approval this week is not really going to affect that, I think, to any degree for the next 60 days,” Redfield said. The US Food and Drug Administration has come ever closer to approving the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer with its German partner BioNTech.[[[[
“The FDA informed Pfizer that they intend to proceed toward an authorization for their vaccine,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC News on Friday. “We will work with Pfizer to ship it so that we can see people get vaccinated on Monday or Tuesday,” Azar said.
Britain and Canada have already approved the Pfizer vaccine, and the US advisory panel is due to review a second vaccine, from Moderna Inc, next week. Other vaccine candidates are in the works. Healthcare workers, first responders, and nursing home residents are expected to receive the first doses, but a broader deployment faces significant logistical challenges in meeting President-elect Joe Biden’s goal of inoculating 100 million people within of the 100 days after its inauguration on January 20.
“It’s not going to be like a light switch that goes on and off. It’s going to be more like a dimmer switch,” said Dr. Mark Mulligan, director of NYU’s Langone Health Vaccine Center and principal investigator of the trials. from Pfizer. Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of Biden’s coronavirus advisory board, told CNN that it would be several months before the nation sees widespread availability of vaccines.
Then there’s American skepticism about vaccines, with just 61% saying they are open to getting vaccinated, according to a Reuters / Ipsos poll. Additionally, American women, who traditionally make the majority of healthcare decisions in their families, are more cautious than men, as the survey showed 35% were “little” or “not at all” interested in receiving a vaccine. .
Meanwhile, the grim statistics continue to pile up as the United States recorded more than 200,000 cases a day for four days in a row with another 220,815 cases Thursday, according to a Reuters tally of official data. The United States has so far reported about 15.60 million cases and 292,642 deaths as of Thursday.
That death toll is likely to exceed 500,000 in April, according to the model developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Deaths could be limited to an estimated 482,000 with a rapid vaccine release, but could also rise to nearly 600,000 if more state and local governments ease mandates to wear masks. By comparison, heart disease killed 655,381 people in the United States and cancer 599,274 in 2018, according to CDC data.