The phase of the The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States at this time of year sets the entire nation in stark contrast.
On the one hand, the authorization of the first vaccine against this disease (that of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer) and the start of an immunization campaign have raised the hope that this nightmare will not end too far. And next Thursday an advisory committee from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, for its acronym in English) plans to meet to assess whether it recommends approving a second one, that of the company Modern.
But on the other hand, the coronavirus that causes this condition continues to circulate uncontrollably from coast to coast and the country is sinking in the darkest of sanitary days as it was discovered in China late last year.
Last Wednesday, at least 232,086 new confirmed positive cases and 3,293 deaths were recorded, according to NBC News, Telemundo’s sister network. It is an absolute double record according to the same media every day since the start of the pandemic.
[“Es lo peor que hemos visto”. Servicios de emergencia colapsan en California y las hospitalizaciones se disparan en Texas y Nevada]
Other counts, such as those from Johns Hopkins University, indicate even higher numbers for these indices with respect to the same day.
The avalanche of infections has put many hospitals in the country under maximum pressure, full of patients needing emergency care and with lack of space and staff.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, more than 113,000 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Never before have there been so many patients simultaneously in the country’s medical centers for this disease, according to the same source.
One of the worst-performing states right now is California, which has intensive care units almost 95% occupancy.
[La FDA dice que la vacuna de Moderna es altamente efectiva. La aprobación de una segunda opción contra el COVID-19 está cerca]
“Sometimes we arrive in the morning and many of the areas are already full of COVID patients,” Erick Fernandez, a nurse in an emergency room in Lancaster, told the Los Angeles Times.
Annel Meza, who practices the same profession in the Riverside University Health Systems network of medical centers, added to the same newspaper that beds are placed in the hallways so that they all fit and, in some cases, “There are no beds at all”.
Vaccination plans are moving forward
Meanwhile plans to vaccinate the population against COVID-19 in advance, starting with the most at-risk groups just like that of health workers.
The vaccine from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech has been administered at various locations since last Monday. Millions of doses have since reached all 50 states of the country. “It’s an honor, it’s a great opportunity to be in the first group to get this vaccine,” Sandra Chaparro, a South Florida cardiologist, told Noticias Telemundo.
Stephen M. Hahn, FDA commissioner, said next Thursday an advisory committee will evaluate whether Moderna’s vaccine meets the requirements to be authorized for emergency use people 18 years or older.
“While this meeting is an important step in the process (scientific experts provide valuable advice and input for the agency to consider as part of the final evaluation),” said Hahn, those making the final decision will be “responsible to the FDA.” .
A document from this agency released Tuesday considers Moderna’s vaccine to be “safe and effective”. The approval could come as early as next Friday.
With information from NBC News and Los Angeles Times.