Even with all the pressure on Americans to wear masks, get vaccines and go for the booster, the United States surpassed 800,000 deaths related to COVID-19 this past weekend. The country now seems to be gearing up for a new battle with the Omicron variant.
Reuters news agency was the first to announce the newest number of deaths from the pandemic. They based the information on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to Reuter’s analysis, it took 111 days for the deaths in America to rise from 600,000 to 700,000. But the next 100,000 deaths only took 73 days, according to the report. If those numbers are correct, that means that the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 now is more than the entire population of North Dakota.
The report also revealed that the United States has the most reported total COVID-19 deaths in the world. This is despite governmental pressure, the widespread availability of vaccines, and effective medical treatment.
The states that have the highest death rates from COVID-19 according to the population are Alabama, Oklahoma, and then West Virginia. The two lowest-ranked states are Vermont and then Hawaii.
The Omicron variant is the most recent setback in the treatment of this pandemic. It was first recognized in South Africa, which led to immediate travel bans to the country and those surrounding the country.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee is the chair of the South African Medical Association. In a recent op-ed, she reported the new variant and noted that most Omicron cases seem to have mild symptoms.
Dr. Coetzee is waiting for more evidence on the Omicron variant. She said that if it is fast spreading but with mild symptoms for the majority of the people who have it, that will become a necessary step in developing herd immunity. Dr. Coetzee believes we will have this information in the next two weeks.
If it is fast spreading and it brings severe symptoms, that would be the worst-case scenario, but that is not the case now. It is mostly infecting young men who represent a combination of vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The Daily Wire made a report on a new study regarding the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant.
“Pfizer-BioNTech on Wednesday reported that initial results from studies examining how well their vaccine protects against a new coronavirus variant found that a booster shot — on top of a two-dose vaccine regimen — neutralizes Omicron in lab studies,” the Daily Wire reported.
According to the Pharmaceutical company, only two shots for the vaccine show a decrease in protection, and a booster dose significantly raises a patient’s protection.
“According to the companies’ preliminary data, a third dose provides a similar level of neutralizing antibodies to Omicron as is observed after two doses against wild-type and other variants that emerged before Omicron,” the Daily Wire wrote in their press release.
According to the studies, a third dose strongly increases the CD8+ T cell levels against multiple spike epitopes. This seems to correlate with the protection against severe disease.
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said that he thinks Americans will eventually need a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the concerns raised over the Omicron variant.
While interviewing with Meg Tirrell and Becky Quick on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Quick asked Bourla about the fact that Israel is already working on their fourth vaccination shots. She wanted to know what got Israel to the place where they thought it was necessary to prepare the fourth vaccine.
Bourla responded that he had already projected on multiple occasions that 12 months after the third dose there would be a need for a fourth. He also noted that we might even need it more quickly than that.
So, the gears are in motion for more pressure coming for vaccinations. It is yet to be seen whether there will be a movement to take away more freedom in the process.