CNBC declares and asks, “Covid is already deadlier this year than all of 2020. So why do many in U.S. think the problem’s over?”
My guess would be they think the problem is over because 177 million Americans have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 150 million Americans are fully vaccinated. That amounts to 62.7 percent of Americans over twelve, 65.6 percent of Americans over 18, and 87.4 percent of Americans over age 65. For those Americans, personally, the problem is over — at least in the sense of they no longer fear becoming seriously ill, requiring hospitalization, or dying from COVID-19.
And so far, the vaccines approved for use in the U.S. are effective against all of the variants, if by effective you mean keeping people out of hospitals and preventing death. Yes, a small percentage of fully vaccinated Americans catch the virus and feel sick, but the effects are pretty mild and pass quickly.
And when CNBC declares “Covid is already deadlier this year than all of 2020,” they mean worldwide, not in the United States.
The U.S. had 363,942 deaths from the beginning of the pandemic to December 31, 2020. Since then, the U.S. has suffered 254,352 deaths. There’s no getting around the fact that January and February were brutal, but the death rate has declined dramatically as the vaccination effort accelerated and spring arrived.
Unfortunately, most other countries don’t have the ability to manufacture their own vaccines, and their vaccination efforts are much slower and sluggish than ours. And a lot of counties that managed to not get hit that badly by COVID-19 in 2020 are getting hammered by the pandemic in 2021. Most notably, India suffered about 150,000 COVID-19 deaths last year; they’ve suffered about 242,000 so far this year.
Considering Americans just came through a year and a half where they had to worry about this virus and take preventative steps every day, I think those who don’t work in public health and virology are entitled to return to normal life and stop worrying about it. If, God forbid, some new variant emerges that is not effectively mitigated by the current vaccines, then the general public will have something genuinely worth worrying about. But for now, let people breathe easily, enjoy their summers, and think the pandemic is indeed in their rear-view mirrors.