U.S. surpasses 800,000 deaths from COVID-19: report

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More than 800,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and this latest report comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to urge Americans to get vaccinated.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago, at least 800,156 deaths have reportedly been linked to the virus, according to data by NBC News. Per the report, “thirty-three states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have reported an increase in deaths over the last 14 days.”

“It’s a very sad moment, it’s mind-boggling,” said Dr. Michael Rodriguez, vice chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “We’re beyond numb.”

Dr. Fauci, the US government’s leading infectious diseases expert, has called on Americans to get an extra vaccine shot to protect against the mild omicron variant, which is reportedly far less severe than its predecessor, the delta variant.  So far, per the report, Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines appear to be less effective in protecting against the omicron variant.

Pfizer said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine may offer important protection against the new omicron variant even though the initial two doses appear significantly less effective, the Associated Press reported.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said that while two doses may not be protective enough to prevent infection, lab tests showed a booster increased by 25-fold people’s levels of virus-fighting antibodies against the omicron variant, per The AP report.

Scientists don’t yet know how big a threat the omicron variant really is. Currently, the extra-contagious delta variant is responsible for most of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and other countries.

“Preliminary data show that when you get a booster, for example, a third shot of an mRNA, it raises the level of protection high enough that it then does do well against the omicron,” Fauci said on ABC, The Guardian reports.

He added, “Another reason to encourage people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, but particularly those who are vaccinated to get boosted because that diminution in protection seems to go way back up again. If you want to be optimally protected, you really should get a booster.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 40% of eligible adults in the US are not fully vaccinated, the same goes for less than 20% of children ages five to 11.

“If your child is five years of age and older, please get them vaccinated. We need to protect the children,” said Fauci.

“This idea that children are not vulnerable at all is not so,” he added.

“When you are in an indoor congregate setting and you don’t know the vaccination status of the people around you, wear a mask. Masking is not going to be forever but it can get us out of the very difficult situation we’re in now,” Fauci said.

The U.S. has reportedly recorded nearly 50 million COVID cases since 2019.

Story Credit: Ny Magee/thegrio

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