On Thursday, while the nation grappled with the catastrophic collapse of U.S. Capitol security, another crisis continued its meteoric rise throughout the nation. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. COVID death toll climbed above 4,000. According to John Hopkins University, it was the third day in a row of COVID death toll records in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s projection puts the total U.S. death toll between 405,000 and 438,000 by the end of January. This comes even as the global community’s enormously impressive creation of an effective COVID-19 vaccine has stumbled at the rollout with a process that is far slower than federal estimates had hoped for. About six million Americans have been vaccinated so far, while officials in Operation Warp Speed had hoped to have 20 million vaccinated by the end of 2020.
“We overpromised and underdelivered as a nation,” Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack told CNN. “Had we just projected realistic quantities, the public wouldn’t have seen this as a shortcoming — we would have recognized it for the incredible accomplishment it was to have even this much vaccine this fast.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci told NPR that officials are continuing to monitor the U.S. vaccine rollout and giving it a few weeks to catch up to necessary projections. But he said if dramatic improvements to the current strategy aren’t made “then we really need to make some changes about what we’re doing.”
U.S Surgeon General Jerome Adams encouraged any states with the capacity to move on to the next phase of their vaccination to do so. For most states in that group, that means expanding the circle of groups eligible for the vaccine to include essential workers and people over the age of 75, in addition to healthcare personnel and longterm care facility residents.