Omicron: Data suggests ‘virus is milder’ says expert
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A recent counting by NBC News reports there have been at least 800,156 confirmed deaths traced to the coronavirus in America since the first fatalities in Northern California in February 2020. The total number of deaths is more than in any other nation and more than the population of Boston, Washington, or Seattle.
The milestone means nearly twice as many Americans have died during the pandemic as World War Two.
The running total is set to increase as soon as Monday as more state and local health departments update their data.
America is again seeing deaths rising at an alarming rate after losing more people to the virus in 2021 than in 2020.
The last 100,000 deaths came in just the past 11 weeks.
Dr Keri Althoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the BBC: “The waves of illness that we’re seeing will continue until the population-level immunity is high enough to prevent them.
“Quite simply, we’re not there yet.”
Only 61.6 percent of the population is fully vaccinated in the US, despite the access to three approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson).
Vaccine hesitancy among a significant number of Americans has led to a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” health officials have repeatedly said, with both the Delta and Omicron variants continuing to spread.
Dr Michael Rodriguez, vice chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, told NBC News: “It’s a very sad moment, it’s mind-boggling.
“We’re beyond numb.”
He added: “Technology has been important, but it’s not been enough.
“Unfortunately, there has been this politicisation that’s resulted in massive misinformation.”
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According to a new Axios/Ipsos poll, fears over the Omicron variant have not encouraged US adults to get vaccinated or booster shots.
Among the unvaccinated, 67 percent of Americans say Omicron isn’t encouraging them to get the jab.
Meanwhile, among those who have gotten their first round of vaccines, 59 percent say Omicron doesn’t encourage them to get a third dose.
The study polled a representative sample of about 1,000 Americans over age 18, also found that people are getting more risk-averse about Covid in some areas but are still going forward with holiday plans.
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