“Say,” I will not be one of those stepping stones for the virus to go to someone else. I’m going to be a dead end for the virus, ”said Fauci, CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg’s Mark Monday.
Holiday gatherings – like Thanksgiving and Christmas and the upcoming Hanukkah – are the “perfect setup” for people who have no symptoms to “innocently and inadvertently” spread infections to loved ones.
With that in mind, officials are preparing for the first wave of vaccine distributions.
Once the United States Food and Drug Administration grants USAs and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes recommendations on which groups will receive the vaccines first, they will be ready to ship. Dr Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed said Monday. And the same day or the next, the first immunizations can be given, he said.
The United States is still fighting a wave
But even after the vaccine distribution begins in December, there will not be enough for the general public to be vaccinated before April or May 2021, Fauci said. Until then, the United States is still struggling with an all-time high.
In Minnesota, more than a third of counties are 10 times higher than what would be considered a high-risk threshold for growing infection rate because the state is in “the worst place we’ve been in since. March, ”Jan Malcolm said Monday.
“When there is this large increase in the number of Minnesotans requiring hospitalization for Covid, it can have really serious implications for the availability of hospital care for other critical issues as well,” said Malcolm. “And the number of people admitted for Covid far eclipses what we saw in May.”
To manage the risk of reopening, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a new “red to green” system that prioritizes counties based on their risk of spread. The data will be updated every two weeks, and if a county fails to meet the parameters, it will start operating at the most restrictive level within 48 hours.
Nationally, Monday marked the 28th day in a row the United States has reported more than 100,000 new cases – a number that far exceeds the records set in the spring and summer, both of which have remained below 60,000.
Hospitals under stress
As cases increase during the holiday season, hospitalizations also increase, putting health systems under pressure.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters on Monday that the state’s intensive care unit bed capacity could reach 112% by Christmas Eve, if the trend of increasing cases of coronavirus continues.
In Rhode Island, officials prepared to use field hospitals after telling residents their systems were already at full capacity.
In New York City, where some hospitals saw room capacity taxed in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this time around, medical systems need to take action to move patients to other facilities with space.
“No patient wants to be in a busy hospital, because you get less care, the staff is very limited, it’s in the best interests of the patient, spread the load of patients across the system,” Cuomo said Monday. “We are no longer going to live the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals.”
Health systems could be even more strained this time around, as researchers are now seeing people affected by the virus even after they no longer have symptoms, Fauci said.
Some, called “long carriers,” experience symptoms that persist for months. Others see residual and possibly undefined organ system dysfunction, he said.
“The idea that you are infected, either you don’t have any symptoms or you die, and if you don’t die then you’re fine – I think that’s really a misconception,” he added.
Difficulties for small communities to get vaccinated
Already strained health care systems will face another challenge of delivering vaccines to rural communities, experts say.
Pfizer has scheduled its vaccine to be stored in ultra-cold and shipped in thermal carriers that can hold at least 975 and up to 5,000 doses.
“It’s not achievable in a small town, from a rural perspective,” Alan Morgan, chief executive of the National Rural Health Association, told CNN Monday. “It just isn’t.”
These doses will need to be distributed among multiple vendors in these communities, and they will need to do so without risking the temperature at which they are stored, Hannan said,
Immunization officials in those areas are going to have to come up with solutions like asking providers to pick up doses from a central location or ship them in containers with dry ice, Morgan and Hannan said.
If they don’t, they risk being sidelined, Morgan said.
“This type of approach only sets up these rural communities across the United States for truly unacceptable death rates and the potential for health system collapse,” he said.
Pfizer did not have immediate response questions on concerns about shipment sizes.
Lauren Mascarenhas, Raja Razek, Steve Almasy, Holly Yan, Sara Murray, John Bonifield, Shelby Lin Erdman and Jennifer Selva contributed to this report.