Coronavirus has shaped the majority of 2020 and it looks like it will overtake 2021 as well. Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States of America has experienced 11.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 250,000 COVID-19 related deaths. Inching towards the holiday season, it appears that things are getting worse. Last week, the country recorded one million confirmed COVID-19 cases. Heading into the new year, researchers believe the virus will be at its deadliest.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has projected that deaths in the U.S. will spike in a number of scenarios. If mask mandates are put into place, IHME projects that the country will record 370,000 COVID-19 related deaths by March. However, IHME predicts that America will experience 439,000 coronavirus deaths if things stay the same. In a worse case scenario, researchers expect the virus to cause 586,000 deaths if restrictions are eased.
To curb the spread of the virus, a number of cities and states have strengthened their restrictions. Specifically, cities like Newark, territories like Puerto Rico and states like California have considered implementing curfews. Meanwhile, Maryland, New York and a few other areas have mandated that restaurants and bars close at a certain hour.
In addition to increasing restrictions, pharmaceuticals are hard at work developing vaccines. Earlier this month, Moderna shared that their vaccine was more than 90% effective during trials. This week, Pfizer said that their vaccine was 94.5% effective during trials.
“The results are really quite good, I mean extraordinary,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
Both companies are expected to seek emergency authorization for their vaccines. If approved, companies could begin distribution before New Year's Eve. Medical personnel and elderly citizens will receive the vaccine first. Then, it will slowly be made available to the general public next year.
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