Vaccines may limit the damage from coronavirus variants

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Many public health consultants are optimistic that the fourth wave of the coronavirus that the U.S. has entered will not be as unhealthy as the different three — however emphasize that it’ll nonetheless be essential to take precautions.

Why it issues: A extra transmissible, deadlier variant of the virus the one which originated in the U.Ok. — is changing into more and more prevalent throughout the nation, however the U.S.’s extraordinary vaccination effort may blunt the worst results of this most up-to-date wave of circumstances.

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Driving the information: The U.S. reported over the weekend that greater than 4 million doses had been administered in a day for the first time.

More than 3 million vaccines have been administered every day, on common, over the final week, per Bloomberg.

Three-quarters of Americans 65 and older have acquired no less than one dose of the vaccine, based on the CDC.

What they’re saying: “It’s kind of like a race between the potential for a surge and our ability to vaccinate as many people as we possibly can,” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci instructed NPR’s Morning Edition on Friday. “And hopefully, if you want to make this a metaphorical race, the vaccine is going to win this one.”

“I think that there’s enough immunity in the population that you’re not going to see a true fourth wave of infection,” former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated yesterday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “What we’re seeing is pockets of infection around the country.”

“The B.1.1.7 variant is almost a new virus. It’s acting differently from anything we’ve seen before in terms of transmissibility and in terms of affecting young people. The good news is all the vaccines seem to work just as well against it,” Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine told CNN.

Yes, but: Experts warn that a victory over the variants is dependent on Americans maintaining precautions, like mask wearing and social distancing, while the vaccination effort continues.

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Some states’ rollback of mitigation measures is working with the rise of the variant that originated in the U.K. to cause the recent spike in cases, Fauci said. “The one thing we don’t want to do is pull back prematurely.”

And in some hot spots, like Michigan, hospitalizations are rising — evidence that not everyone vulnerable to severe infections has yet been vaccinated as the virus gains steam.

Some experts are outright pessimistic. “In terms of the United States, we’re just at the beginning of this surge,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, instructed NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The bottom line: “We’ve prematurely pulled again from some mitigation like masks. We’re close to a vaccine inflection level, however not fairly there but,” Gottlieb tweeted.

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