Expect 500,000 deaths by mid-February, incoming CDC director says

In less than a year, Covid-19 has killed almost 400,000 Americans.

And in just the next month, another 100,000 lives could be lost to the disease, the incoming director of the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention said.

“By the middle of February, we expect half a million deaths in this country,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“That doesn’t speak to the tens of thousands of people who are living with a yet uncharacterized syndrome after they’ve recovered,” said Walensky, who was chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital before President-elect Joe Biden picked her to lead the CDC.

Some people who have had Covid-19 have suffered symptoms months after testing positive.

“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 said.

“I think we still have some dark weeks ahead.”

100 million doses in 100 days: Walensky said Sunday that the Biden administration will address “bottlenecks” in Covid-19 vaccine distribution and fulfill its goal to deliver 100 million doses in 100 days.

“I think that there are bottlenecks in different places across the entire system,” Walensky told “Face the Nation.”
“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,” she said. “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.”

President-elect Joe Biden says his goal is to distribute 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days of office.

“We have looked carefully, and we are confident that we have enough vaccines for the 100 million doses over the next 100 days,” Walensky said. “It will be a hefty lift, but we have it in us to do that.”

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