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US Coronavirus: ‘We’ve done worse than most other countries,’ says Fauci as US marks grim toll of Covid-19

“I believe if you look back historically we have done worse than most other countries and we are a rich and highly developed country,” Dr Anthony Fauci told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” ​​on Monday on ABC.

“It’s so hard to go back and try to do a metaphorical autopsy on how things turned out. It was just bad,” Fauci added.

U.S. death toll from Covid-19 is by far the highest of any country – and more than double that of Brazil, which, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, has the second highest number deaths linked to the virus.

The United States has also reported the most infections, with now more than 28 million Americans having tested positive for Covid-19. That number is more than double the number of cases in India – second in line, according to Johns Hopkins data – and nearly triple that in Brazil.

Experts highlighted several factors that may have contributed to the worsening of the pandemic, including the lack of clear messages from the country’s leaders, state and local leaders who too quickly relax restrictions, large holiday celebrations and continued resistance to face masks and other safety measures.

“A mask is nothing more than a life-saving medical device, and yet it has been categorized in all kinds of other ways that were neither factual nor scientific and, frankly, dangerous,” said the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins. “Axios on HBO” earlier this week.

“I think you can argue that tens of thousands of people have died as a result,” Collins added.

What the United States must do now

Emergency physician Dr Leana Wen said this step was a reminder of “all the lives we could have saved”. And now she says she’s worried about what might happen.

“My biggest fear right now is complacency,” Wen told CNN on Monday.

While states across the country can report encouraging trends, experts including Wen have warned that now is absolutely not the time to let go – especially with the coronavirus variants in circulation.

“The best way for us to get back to normal is to double down right now, not to throw away our masks, not to eat inside, not to do other things that we know can be at risk of. reignite epidemics, ”said Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center.

“The majority of people in this country, despite previous infections and despite two months of the vaccine, the majority of people still have no protection against Covid and can be infected,” he told CNN. “It’s not over and we have to overtake.”

This means continuing to mask yourself, social distancing, avoiding crowded areas, washing your hands regularly and applying the safety measures that have so far helped curb the spread of infections.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky told a Covid-19 briefing on Monday that while the numbers can move in the right direction, “cases, hospital admissions and deaths remain at very high levels “.

New cases have declined steadily for five weeks, Walensky said. But the United States continues to add tens of thousands of new infections a day. February alone saw more than two million new cases of Covid-19.

Hospitalizations have fallen since their peak on January 6 by more than 132,400 patients with Covid-19. But more than 55,400 people remain hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID follow-up project.

And every day, hundreds of lives are lost to Covid-19. More than 1,300 deaths were reported on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins – and more than 52,000 have been reported this month.

“Although the pandemic is headed in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done,” Walensky said.

Study: Smell and taste after Covid-19 may not return for months

And for many people who have survived a bout with the disease, the symptoms persist.

US Coronavirus: ‘We’ve done worse than most other countries,’ says Fauci as US marks grim toll of Covid-19

In fact, Canadian researchers reported on Monday that people’s smell and taste may not return for five months after becoming infected with coronavirus.

A team from the University of Quebec has surveyed more than 800 healthcare workers who have tested positive for the virus. They rated their smell and taste on a scale from zero to 10 and some were asked to take a home test to further assess these senses.

During the initial infection, more than 70% of those who took part in the survey reported losing their sense of smell and 65% said they had lost their sense of taste, the researchers said in the preliminary results.

US Coronavirus: ‘We’ve done worse than most other countries,’ says Fauci as US marks grim toll of Covid-19

Five months later, when they used a home test, 17% of participants said they still had loss of smell and 9% of people had persistent loss of taste.

“Our results show that an alteration in smell and taste can persist in a number of people with Covid-19,” said Dr Johannes Frasnelli of the University of Quebec, who worked on the study , in a press release.

“This highlights the importance of tracking those who have been infected and requires further research to discover the extent of neurological problems associated with Covid-19.”

CDC announces emergency vaccine advisor meeting

Meanwhile, as the US rushes to get more gunfire, another vaccine may soon get the green light for the US market.

Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this month that it has applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its one-dose Covid-19 vaccine.
US Coronavirus: ‘We’ve done worse than most other countries,’ says Fauci as US marks grim toll of Covid-19

On Friday, an FDA advisory group will discuss the application and the company’s data. Based on the adviser’s advice, the FDA may choose to green light the vaccine. Next, CDC advisers will discuss their own recommendations for vaccine deployment, which will then need to be formally accepted by the CDC.

The CDC has announced an emergency meeting of its vaccine advisers from February 28 to March 1.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson will testify on Tuesday that it can deliver enough doses by the end of March to immunize more than 20 million Americans, helping to supplement the country’s existing supply.

So far, more than 44 million Americans have received at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.

About 19.4 million received both doses, the data shows. That’s less than 6% of the American population.

CNN’s Christopher Rios, Jen Christensen and Michael Nedelman contributed to this report.

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