2 years after COVID first hit the US, hundreds of thousands of Americans are still falling ill

At the starting of 2020, as the nation celebrated the begin of a brand new 12 months, many Americans have been still unaware of the “mysterious pneumonia” that had sickened dozens of staff at a dwell animal market in Wuhan, China.

The sickness, later recognized as the “novel coronavirus”, started spreading quickly throughout the globe. Several research have instructed that the virus had already been spreading in the United States, probably as early as December 2019.

However, it was not till mid-January of 2020, when the virus would formally be acknowledged as current on U.S. soil.

Two years in the past, on Jan. 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first home case of coronavirus. The optimistic affected person was a 35-year-old man from Washington state, who had not too long ago returned from Wuhan, China.

Now, two years later, the U.S. has confirmed greater than 69 million COVID-19 circumstances, and 859,000 deaths, the highest in the whole for any nation, in keeping with knowledge from Johns Hopkins University. And the nation, regardless of the vast availability of extremely efficient vaccines and novel therapies, is experiencing its most important surge on file because of the extremely transmissible omicron variant and tens of thousands and thousands of eligible Americans remaining unvaccinated.

“These final two years have introduced transformational developments spanning vaccines, therapies and testing. Though these instruments are having a transparent impression on lowering poor outcomes, we are still seeing one of the worst surges thus far,” mentioned John Brownstein, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor.

‘Low’ threat morphs into pandemic

Just days earlier than the first case was confirmed two years in the past, the CDC had carried out public well being entry screening at a number of main airports together with San Francisco International Airport, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

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At the time, the CDC reported that whereas the virus was initially regarded as spreading from animal-to-person, there have been “rising indications” that “restricted person-to-person unfold” was going down.

“This is definitely not a second for panic or excessive anxiousness. It is a second for vigilance,” Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee mentioned throughout a news convention that very same day. “The threat is low to residents in Washington.”

Less than per week after the first home case was confirmed, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, which is a division of the CDC, careworn that the “virus is just not spreading in the group… For that motive, we proceed to consider that the speedy well being threat from the new virus to the common public is low presently.”

In late February, Messonnier mentioned she in the end anticipated to see group unfold in the U.S. At the time, well being officers famous that the virus might not have the ability to be contained at the border and that Americans ought to put together for a “vital disruption” of their lives.

In the months to return, Life Care Center of Kirkland, a talented nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle suburbs, would develop into the first epicenter of the virus’ lethal journey throughout the nation. The epicenter shortly then grew to become New York City, which skilled hundreds of deaths a day at the peak of April 2020.

It could be one other seven weeks till the World Health Organization would declare the world coronavirus a pandemic, subsequently forcing borders to shut, and Americans to retreat to their houses for what some thought could be only a few weeks of “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” orders.

In the first months of pandemic, by April 2020, greater than 1 million Americans have been sickened and 65,000 died, when the virus was still largely mysterious, therapies and provides have been scarce and hospitals have been overwhelmed in giant city areas like New York. Subsequent waves of the virus every had their very own traits from the lethal winter surge of 2020 to 2021 and the delta variant surge, which upended the optimism that the pandemic would lastly come to an finish after mass vaccination.

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In reality, in the final 12 months alone, greater than 450,000 Americans have been misplaced to the virus.

17 million circumstances in a month

Two years into the pandemic, federal knowledge reveals that hundreds of thousands of Americans are still testing optimistic for the virus daily, and greater than 1,600 others are dying from COVID-19.

In the final month alone, there have been greater than 17.1 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances, and 44,700 reported virus-related deaths. In addition, greater than a 12 months into the U.S. home vaccine rollout, 62 million eligible Americans who are over the age of 5, about 20% of that group, stay fully unvaccinated.

“After 24 months and unprecedented medical innovation, the final month has introduced thousands and thousands of circumstances and tens of thousands of deaths. While many may declare victory on the pandemic, we are clearly very far from the place need we need to be proper now, particularly with billions of individuals but to be vaccinated,” Brownstein mentioned, referring to the continued world disaster.

The U.S. is still averaging greater than 750,000 new circumstances a day, about thrice the surge from final winter in 2021. However, there may be rising proof to recommend that the latest omicron case surge could also be starting to recede in the components of the nation that have been first struck by the variant.

Although preliminary world research point out that the omicron variant might trigger much less extreme sickness than prior variants, well being officers say that the sheer numbers of infections brought on by the new variant might still overwhelm the well being care system.

Glimmers of hope

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In New York, day by day circumstances have dropped by 33% in the final week, and in New Jersey, new circumstances are down by 43.7%. In Massachusetts, wastewater samples point out the state’s omicron surge is falling quickly.

In the Southeast, day by day circumstances in Florida are falling too – down by 30% in the final week, although the state is still averaging greater than 45,000 new circumstances a day.

However, well being officers warning that general, the latest COVID-19 surge throughout a lot of the nation has but to peak, and hospitals might still be confronted with tough weeks forward.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy advised FinalNews24’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the omicron surge has not but peaked nationally.

“This is a really tough time throughout this surge. We are seeing excessive case numbers and hospitalization charges… we’re additionally seeing pressure in lots of of our hospitals round the nation,” Murthy mentioned. “The subsequent few weeks can be powerful.”

More than 160,000 virus-positive Americans are at present hospitalized throughout the nation, a pandemic excessive. It was simply over two weeks in the past that we hit 100,000 COVID-19 optimistic Americans hospitalized.

Half the nation – 25 states and Puerto Rico – has seen their COVID-19 associated hospital admission charges leap by at the least 10% in the final week, and nationwide, a median of greater than 21,000 virus-positive Americans are searching for care daily.

And nationally, 99% of U.S. counties are still reporting excessive transmission. Out of the 3,220 U.S. counties, simply 16 counties are not reporting excessive transmission.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, mentioned it’s an “open query” as as to if the omicron variant will lead the globe into a brand new part of the pandemic.

“It’s not going to be that you will get rid of this illness fully. We’re not going to try this. But hopefully it is going to be at such a low stage that it does not disrupt our regular, social, financial and different interactions with one another,’ Fauci mentioned. “To me, that is what the new regular is. I hope the new regular additionally features a actual robust company reminiscence of what pandemics can do.”

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