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FDA official says this is when the COVID pandemic will get better

Published Jan 16th, 2021 9:01AM EST
Coronavirus update
Image: Drazen/Adobe
  • According to the latest coronavirus update, almost 4,000 Americans died from COVID-19 on Thursday.
  • Meanwhile, one FDA official thinks there will be a dramatic improvement in the coronavirus pandemic by June as more people begin to receive the vaccine.
  • His estimate depends on the US stepping up its coronavirus vaccine distribution, among other things.

It’s easy, if you’re not careful, to get desensitized to the horror that each day’s new coronavirus update brings — and make no mistake, things are still very, very bad in the US. Imagine, for example, that nine Boeing 747-400s crashed in the US yesterday, and every single person aboard all of them was killed. Not a stretch to also imagine the wall-to-wall news coverage that would ensue, right? And the frantic search for answers. The insistence that an investigation must commence, the shared understanding that this is a national tragedy — one that must be fixed immediately and never be allowed to happen again.

In a three-class seating layout, this particular kind of jumbo jet can seat 416 people, based on the latest information I’ve seen. Nine of those jumbo jets crashing and killing everyone aboard would almost equal the number of Americans who were recorded yesterday as dying from the COVID-19 coronavirus. The US recorded almost 4,000 coronavirus deaths on Thursday — and, even more ominously, the CDC is warning that another 92,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 over the next three weeks or so. So, all that said, is there even any hope on the horizon?

Fortunately, one FDA official thinks so. “I really do think that by June, we can stop the spread of this virus,” Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, said during an interview this week on CNN’s New Day. These are some of the reasons why:

  • For one thing, the release of two more vaccines, from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, is imminent.
  • The already-authorized Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, meanwhile, are already “remarkable effective.”
  • Offit says it’s also worth being optimistic as a result of the fact that the incoming Biden administration “isn’t into this cult of denialism” that pervaded the coronavirus response from President Trump and Trump officials, and that the new administration will “take this problem head on.”

There are a few more caveats for Dr. Offit’s feeling about June. One is that coronavirus vaccines need to start being administered at a rate of at least 1 million doses per day to get at least 55% or so of the population vaccinated in the next few months.

Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker shows that just 11.9 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the US since mid-December, and at least 1.46 million people have completed the two-dose vaccine regimen.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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