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Leading virus expert says U.S. likely to see 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February

1 month 1 week 2 days ago Monday, January 18 2021 Jan 18, 2021 January 18, 2021 6:42 AM January 18, 2021 in News
Source: CNN

As of late January 2021, novel coronavirus has taken the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans. and some officials are warning that by next month thousands more will succumb to complications associated with the oft-deadly virus.

According to CNN, the incoming director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, another 100,000 lives could be lost to the disease by mid-February. 

Walensky, who was chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital before President-elect Joe Biden picked her to lead the CDC, said,

"That doesn't speak to the tens of thousands of people who are living with a yet uncharacterized syndrome after they've recovered."

"And we still yet haven't seen the ramifications of what happened from the holiday travel, from holiday gathering, in terms of high rates of hospitalizations and the deaths thereafter," Walensky added.

"I think we still have some dark weeks ahead," she concluded.

The incoming CDC Director announced Sunday that the Biden administration is taking steps to fulfill its goal to deliver 100 million doses in 100 days.

"Different states are having different challenges -- how much is being rolled out to each state, whether those states have adequate personnel, whether those states are getting vaccine to pharmacies," Waleksy said during a recent interview. "Our job is to make sure that with the entire support of the federal government, that we address all of those bottlenecks wherever we are, so we can get vaccine into people's arms."

While Louisiana works to refine the organizational structure of its vaccination process, it is simultaneously contending with the recent discovery of a strain of the COVID-19 virus believed to be more contagious than the standard strain in a patient located in the New Orleans area. 

The virus strain is commonly referred to as the 'U.K. variant' due to its prevalence in the United Kingdom. 

Saturday (Jan. 16), officials with the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed that a patient in the greater New Orleans area had contracted the U.K. variant, adding that this individual has a history of out-of-state travel. 

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health conducted contact tracing on the patient to learn of likely contacts and immediately inform these persons. 

While health experts believe the current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the mutated virus, the U.K. variant is more infectious. As of Monday (Jan. 18) the mutated virus has already been confirmed in 15 other U.S. states. 

Experts believe the best way to avoid contracting any form of novel coronavirus is to follow strict preventive measures, which include social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the proper wearing of masks while in public. 

Click here for the most recent statistics on the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana. 

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