COVID passes new landmark


Cami Deakins, Reporter

Half a million U.S. lives have been lost to Covid-19. That’s more than the number of Americans killed in World War II. The victims of this silent enemy from young and old, spanning all backgrounds and corners of the country.


“As a nation, we can’t accept such a cruel fate. We’ve been fighting this pandemic for so long. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow,” the President said. “We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. We must do so to honor the dead, but equally important care for the living, those they left behind,” said President Joe Biden.


Biden also participated in a moment of silence, standing by 500 lighted candles outside the White House, joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff. A flag atop the White House and flags at the US Capitol were lowered to half-staff on Monday February 22, 2021. The pandemic is far from over as more than 1,200 American deaths were reported Monday. But Americans can steer its course — and help prevent many more families from suffering inconsolable grief.


As numbers of new cases and hospitalizations go down, however, reports of highly contagious variants go up.


“I am worried about this variant (the new strand that was first found in the UK), if that takes over, the numbers are going to start to spiral up again. There’s no end to what the death toll will look like unless we can vaccinate ahead of it,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.


But as the number of vaccinations slowly increase, some Americans say they won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine -hurting the chances of herd immunity and hindering a return to normal life.


More than 44.1 million Americans have received at least one dose of their two-dose vaccines, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 19.4 million have been fully vaccinated. That’s about 5.9% of the US population – far less than the estimated 70%-85% of Americans who would need to be immune to reach herd immunity.


Some states are still grappling with vaccine delays after severe weather that covered most of the country a few weeks ago. But the US will likely be caught up by the middle of March, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.