Coronavirus Record: Nearly 80,000 Americans Dead in January

January 28, 2021 Topic: Health Region: Americas Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: CoronavirusPandemicSymptomsVaccineHealth

Coronavirus Record: Nearly 80,000 Americans Dead in January

The slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccines has also threatened to reverse progress in eventually ending the yearlong pandemic. 

It only took the first month of the new year for the United States to register the deadliest month of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With seventy-nine thousand two hundred deaths, this month’s toll has already eclipsed the previous record high of seventy-seven thousand four hundred set in December, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

There, however, appears to be no slowdown in sight. The seven-day average is showing roughly three thousand three hundred coronavirus-related deaths each day, which is up 12 percent compared to the week prior.

On Tuesday alone, there were nearly a hundred fifty thousand new cases reported. The rolling seven-day average now sits at just over one hundred sixty-six thousand.

Adding to the concerns of health officials are the new coronavirus variants that have surfaced in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

Previous reports have contended that UK’s mutant virus is between 30 percent and 70 percent more transmissible but does not seem to be more lethal. However, a new report released on Friday stated that there is “a realistic possibility” that the new variant, also known as B.1.1.7, could eventually produce higher death rates than other strains. 

“We’ve been informed that in addition to spreading more quickly . . . there is some evidence that the new variant . . . may be more associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a news conference. 

Recent modeling from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed that the mutant virus has the potential to become the predominant variant in the United States by March. Already, about three hundred cases have been identified in more than twenty-five states.

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that it confirmed the first known U.S. case of another variant that was originally identified in Brazil. As for the South African variant, scientists have expressed worry that the currently available vaccines may appear to be less effective against it. 

The slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccines has also threatened to reverse progress in eventually ending the yearlong pandemic. 

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 response team, noted in a virtual briefing on Wednesday that it will be “months before everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.” He added that the administration is currently on pace to meet its ambitious vaccination goal of a hundred million vaccines in President Joe Biden’s first one hundred days in office.

Biden, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that most Americans will have access to a vaccine by the end of the summer, adding that the federal government is working to ramp up its weekly vaccine distribution by 16 percent. 

Slavitt said that the administration is maintaining “a rolling inventory of two to three days of supply that we can use to supplement any shortfalls in production and to ensure that we are making deliveries as committed.” 

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.  

Image: Reuters