COVID-19 Round-up: US Troops to Assist with Vaccine Rollout; CDC Director Says UK Variant May Be Deadlier; and More

Here are some of the top stories on the COVID-19 pandemic in the week ending on 2/5/21.

White House Expected to Deploy Troops to Assist with Vaccines

The Biden administration is expected to announce the deployment of about 1,000 US troops to assist around the nation with COVID-19 vaccinations, per a CNN report. Currently, there’s already a significant, but separate military effort to help facilitate vaccine efforts. “There are over 20,000 national guardsmen deployed providing COVID support including at over 216 vaccine sites in 36 states and territories,” said Max Rose, COVID senior adviser to the secretary of defense.

CDC Director Says UK Variant May Be Deadlier

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that data suggest that the B1.1.7 variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, may have a higher mortality rate than the original strain. “We know that some of the variants have increased transmissibility, there’s increasing data that suggests that some of the variants, the B.1.1.7 variant may actually lead to increased mortality, and the jury’s still out with regard to how these vaccines are going to work with against these variants,” said Dr. Walensky on MSNBC.

Fauci Says No Need to Delay Second Vaccine Dose

Dr. Anthony Fauci doesn’t recommend delaying second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so that as many Americans as possible can receive a first dose. Fauci told ABC, “Certainly you don’t want vaccines sitting around in the refrigerator or in a freezer if they’re ready to go. You want to give them to people.”

Fauci also said that about 70-85% of the US population should get fully vaccinated before the country returns to normalcy.

Russia’s Vaccine is Highly Effective Against COVID-19

Following months of skepticism, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 91.6% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe and moderate COVID, according to an interim analysis published in The Lancet. Dr. Inna V Dolzhikova, co-lead author of the study, said the analysis suggested the vaccine had “high efficacy, immunogenicity, and a good tolerability profile in participants aged 18 years or older.”


January was the Deadliest Month in the US Thus Far

January was the deadliest month in the US since the start of the pandemic with more than 95,245 people dying from the virus in the first month of 2021, surpassing December’s total of 77,486 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. “Right now it’s the worst of possible worlds. It’s the winter. It’s getting cold out, people are together more, there’s still a critical number of people in the United States who don’t wear masks, who don’t social distance,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee. “I think the next six weeks or two months are going to be rough. I think we could have another 100,000, 150,000 deaths.”