Today, one year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the end of that pandemic is within reach.
- The death and suffering caused by the coronavirus have been much worse than many people expected a year ago — but the vaccines have been much better, Axios health care editor Sam Baker writes.
A year ago today, the U.S. had confirmed 1,000 coronavirus infections. Now, we’re approaching 30 million.
- In those early days, Americans were terrified by White House projections — informed by well-respected modeling — that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from the virus. That actual number now sits at just under 530,000.
- Many models thought the virus would peak last May — nowhere close. The deadliest month of the pandemic was January.
But last March, even the sunniest optimists didn’t expect the U.S. to have a vaccine by now.
- They certainly didn’t anticipate that 300 million shots would already be in arms worldwide. And they didn't think the eventual vaccines would be anywhere near as effective as these turned out to be.
Where it stands: President Biden has said every American adult who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of May — and the country is on track to meet that target.
- The U.S. is administering an average of 2 million shots per day. Roughly 25% of the adult population has gotten at least one shot.
The federal government has purchased more doses than this country can use: 300 million from Pfizer, 300 million from Moderna and 200 million from Johnson & Johnson.
- The Pfizer and Moderna orders alone would be more than enough to fully vaccinate every American adult (the vaccines aren’t yet authorized for use in children).
- But millions of Americans are still awaiting their first shot — and navigating signup websites is frustrating and awful.
The big picture: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all falling sharply at the same time vaccinations are ramping up.
- USA Today declared: "Hospitals report third wave is over."
The bottom line: Measured in death, loss, isolation and financial ruin, this year felt like an eternity. Measured from the declaration of a pandemic to 60 million Americans vaccinated, the year was an instant.
🎧 On today's episode of "The Week America Changed," NewYork-Presbyterian CEO Steven Corwin tells Dan Primack how the hospital managed the "tsunami" of COVID cases last spring. Sign up.