New Covid-19 cases are over three times less than what they were in January. Based on the 7-day rolling averages, deaths are over 1/3rd less and dropping (the death rate is 4-6 weeks behind the new case rate). While there is less testing most recently because of winter weather, I believe that cases are coming down.
As of Thursday, Feb 18, 41 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 16.2 million have received their second dose. This is about 12.5%, and 5% of the population respectively. While mild side effects are common, serious side effects of the vaccines continue to be uncommon.
As of Friday, Feb 19, around 1,000 deaths have been reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System after receiving the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. Many of these deaths are coincidental to receiving the vaccine including some with active Covid-19 infections. I copied the report that I ran, with all of the information available here.
Again, more than 29 million people have been infected by the Covid-19 virus, while almost 1/2 million people have died from it. Even if we could attribute each of these deaths directly to the vaccine, it is clear that Covid-19 is much more fatal and dangerous. Vaccines are starting to work at reducing deaths. Also, both of the vaccines currently in use here seem to be successful against the new variants that are spreading here.
As a healthcare provider, I received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine a couple of days ago. I had a headache, fatigue, and muscle soreness afterward. It was mild and I was able to continue with my errands that day and worked the last two. Tonight (Friday), the only real complaint is some pain at the site of the injection. I’m expecting worse side effects after the second dose. Our understanding is that these side effects are indicators that the body is producing an immune response.
And now for the bad news.
Variants of the Covid-19 virus that are more contagious and lethal are spreading in the US. The UK version, the CDC warns, could be the dominant variant in the US by the end of next month. Once the UK version runs its course, the South African or Brazilian version could become dominant. These variants could cause another surge this spring.
It seems that reinfection can also occur. While a small number of reinfections can occur with the same strain, most reinfections are occurring with new variants. As the new variants spread, people who were sick with Covid last year may get it again. With the imbalance of the vaccine rollout between rich and poor countries, Covid will continue to mutate. Full worldwide rollout of the vaccines isn’t expected until 2023.
A lot depends on what happens in the next few months. How fast the vaccine rollout can occur, and how effective we are at preventing the spread of the new variants. I do believe that next winter will be much better than this one, but there is a possibility it will take a couple of years to get back to our pre-pandemic lives.
Here is a link to a pdf version of this article.
Here is the data downloaded from VEARS, you can also access it here.