The vaccination drive is making a difference, believes a senior doctor in California, even as more Americans have died in a single year from Covid-19 than the total number of American deaths in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.
And the number is only on the rise.
However, Dr Jasbir S Kang, medical director, Yuba Sutter Hospitalist Group, California, told indica News that the effects of the vaccination drive are becoming visible.
“In December 2020, the beds were full; now it’s one-fourth of that. The reason is seniors are inoculated,” Kang said.
“Vaccination is making a difference,” he said. “By May-June the situation would be much better. We are probably going to see significant improvements in the next few months.”
He ascribed a few other factors to his optimism.
“Winter is getting over, all the vulnerable people mostly got Covid-19, and seniors are vaccinated. We have Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson is upcoming. So, the worst is behind us,” said Dr Kang.
However, uncertainty about the emergence of new variants is still worrisome, and some of the new strains could be more contagious and potentially more lethal.
“The devil is already here,” Dr Charles Chiu, who led the UCSF team of geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians and other scientists in a wide-ranging analysis of the new California variant, which they call B.1.427/B.1.429, told www.sandiegouniontribune.com.
“I wish it were different. But science is the science.”
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has announced that coronavirus vaccines for kids are coming by the fall.
The US, however, has paid a terrible price in the pandemic. The next country with the most deaths is Brazil with approximately 250,000 fatalities, barely reaching the halfway mark of the United States.
From zero cases in the beginning of February 2020 to 500,000 in February 2021, the US has made a lot of wrong turns in the past year.
Very few people would have believed it in March last year that the US would cross half a million deaths from the coronavirus, out of which 49,788 died in California alone and 46,643 in New York.
“A combination of factors may be responsible for this,” Dr Prasun Mishra, founding president and CEO of the American Association for Precision Medicine (AAPM), and chair of AAPM coronavirus taskforce, the first Global COVID-19 Taskforce, told indica News.
Those factors include, he said, “a poor pandemic response, and failure to implement public health and policy measures that are proven to reduce deaths in other countries.”
Asked where the US failed in comparison with other countries including densely populated India, he said: “The majority of Covid-19 surges and casualties happened in densely populated areas. Although the quality of care is high in the US, the pandemic has overwhelmed the healthcare system, exposing several vulnerabilities in our present reactive healthcare system, which has contributed to a high number of deaths.”
On what the Biden government can do to prevent deaths, Mishra said: “We have to implement and strongly adhere to a robust pandemic response including public health and policy measures that are proven to reduce deaths in other countries.”
He added: “Vaccinate as many people as possible to attain herd immunity. And the sooner we vaccinate the majority of the population, the fewer novel variants rise. Also, we have to invest in reliable and cost-effective treatment options as well as monitoring the long-term implications of Covid-19 in recovered patients.”
The vaccination effect is showing some difference in several cities. The number of reported deaths is also slowing but again the deaths in Alameda County in California reached 1,200 on Monday, February 22, the same day that the national toll hit 500,000.
So, there are some silver linings, but the reopening of schools continues to be debatable.
Asked whether America should be children back to school yet, Mishra said: “No.”