Experts worry vaccine news deters other COVID prevention measures
Even if vaccine gets cleared for use in December, masks, social distancing and hand hygiene remain primary ways to thwart the surging spread of COVID across USA
At the current average of nearly 1,000 deaths per day, the USA is almost certain to reach 250,000 COVID-19 deaths before Thanksgiving.
“Unless we double down on the public health measures… it can get much worse,” says NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in an interview on CNN Tuesday. “We’re not talking about shutting down. We’re talking about wearing masks universally, keeping distance, doing things much more outdoors than indoors and washing hands.”
All but 3 states are in the “uncontrolled spread” category of COVID-19, and all 50 are seeing increasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
Universal mask use would prevent 30,000 lives between now and December 31, according to the University of Washington forecasters.
Hospitalizations across the USA are about to pass the previous peak of 59,940 reached in April. As of yesterday, 59,275 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the USA. Yesterday’s increase was the largest single-day jump since July, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has changed state guidelines so that nurses infected with COVID-19 but have no symptoms can continue working. The move became necessary as hospitals filled up with COVID-19 and other patients in the past three weeks. North Dakota has had the highest rate of new cases and deaths per capita in the past week. On Monday, 254 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 there.
Obesity may interfere with a COVID-19 vaccine: Even if or when there is a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, research from around the world strongly indicates that obesity makes COVID-19 worse. An article in Nature reviews biological and other reasons that may explain why a vaccine that works in many people may not work as well in those who are obese.
For a look at how challenging getting vaccines to millions of Americans, watch this Arizona TV station’s look at a Phoenix clinic.