Losing Battle: US records 800,000 Covid deaths on vaccination anniversary

India's lung health crisis
India is grappling with a lung health crisis and there is an urgent need to reduce air pollution and tobacco use.

It may be a sheer coincidence that the US recorded 8,00,000 Covid deaths on the first anniversary of the vaccination programme on December 14. Most of the world thought the first vaccine jab in the United States, in less than a year of the Coronavirus outbreak, would be a turning point in the global war against the pandemic. But it was not to be.

A year on, the US is yet to emerge victorious in its battle against the deadly virus. Americans are still debating vaccination as a political question, leading to slip ups in the country’s defence against the virus. The US has fully vaccinated just about 60% of its population (around 20 crore people). A large number of those who are unvaccinated insist that they will never get the jab. This has put America’s frontline health workers and its older people at risk.

US covid deaths

At least three fourths of all Covid deaths in the US were of people over 65 years of age. About 1% of Americans in above 65 years died of the deadly virus infection, Worryingly, Covid cases are on the rise also among children.

READ I  Covid-19 comes back to push world economy to the brink

Covid deaths in the US

The US death toll of 8,00,000 the highest reported anywhere in the world. The sad part is that more than 200,000 lives were lost after the rollout of vaccines in December 2020. The other countries that saw maximum fatalities are Brazil (616,000 deaths) and India (475,000 deaths).

The nationalist pride of the US took a hit when the country has just 4% of the global population accounted for about 15% of the Covid death toll. Most of the people who succumbed to Covid-19 were either elderly or were unvaccinated. Of the total deaths, 1,00,000 happened in the last 11 weeks.

READ I  Widening inequality has serious repercussions for Indian economy

America is yet get a taste of the super spreader Omicron variant, which is believed to be less harmful than the earlier versions. The Omicron variant has already been found in 77 countries. Even without Omicron, new cases and deaths are on the rise. The Delta variant is believed to be responsible for most infections in the US.

The US also crossed the 50 million Covid-19 infections mark. The country is witnessing a rapid rise in the number of Omicron cases, mirroring global trends. Researchers found that 13% of the coronavirus cases were due to the variant. The Omicron variant can evade existing immune defences built through vaccines and infections. But it is not clear if the variant can cause severe disease.

The FDA on Wednesday authorised more tests and sample collection devices under emergency use authorisations, including 291 molecular tests and sample collection devices, 41 antigen tests and 89 antibody and other tests. The FDA also authorised 22 antigen tests and nine molecular tests for serial screening programmes. On November 19, the FDA had amended the EUAs for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, allowing single booster dose to people over 18 years.