As health experts predicted several months ago, this winter has proven to be the most devastating period of the coronavirus pandemic thus far. With surges upon surges as a result of holiday gatherings and people continuing to travel, infections, hospitalizations, and deaths break records across the country on a daily basis. While the vaccine rollout has offered some hope, only around 151,000 Americans have received their initial shot and booster, while more than 9 million have received one shot—meaning we are still far from achieving any sort of herd immunity. In hopes of slowing the spread of the virus, the government is accelerating distribution, recommending administering it to a new age group. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Those 65 and Older—or Those With Pre-Existing Conditions—Should Get the Vaccine
On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended giving a coronavirus vaccine to everyone over 65 in the country and adults of all ages with pre-existing conditions and announced they were releasing all vaccines in reserves. They also hope to make vaccination more accessible in general by encouraging the expansion of vaccination sites to include community health centers and more pharmacies.
"We can now shift all of the doses that have been held in physical reserve," US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. "We are telling states they should open vaccinations to all people … 65 and over and all people under age 65 with a comorbidity with some form of medical documentation."
On Monday, WHO's Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan warned that despite the vaccine, herd immunity won't be achieved in the next year.
"Because even as vaccines start protecting the most vulnerable, we are not going to achieve any level of population immunity, or herd immunity in 2021 and even if it happens in a couple of pockets in a few countries, it's not going to protect people across the world," she said during a press conference.
"The vaccines are going to come. They are going to go to all countries, but meanwhile we mustn't forget that there are measures that work and… it's really important to remind people, both governments as well as individuals, on the responsibilities and the measures that we continue to need to practice… for the next… well for the rest of this year at least," she said.
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.