The U.S. neared its record on Thursday for coronavirus-related deaths when more than 2,800 people were confirmed dead from Covid-19, according to an NBC News tally. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced its guidelines for the first phase of the most ambitious national vaccination campaign in modern history.
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Racial disparities create obstacles for Covid-19 vaccine rollout
Despite the potential for a vaccine within weeks, distrust of the medical community by Black andLatino people, who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, remains high as elected leaders and public health professionals work to prioritize its distribution.
Fueled by a dark history of medical experimentation and unequal access to care, people in Black and Latino communities struggling with high Covid-19 rates are among those least likely to get vaccinated, health advocates say. Overcoming systemic racism and the collective trauma associated with it will be paramount as officials rush to distribute vaccines to hard-hit communities, they warn.
"The people who need it the most are the same who don't trust it," said Sernah Essien of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, an international advocacy group working to ensure equitable vaccine access. "Without considering racial equity, we deepen the cracks that systemic racism has already created in our health care system."
The message is being heard at the highest levels.
After first round of vaccine distributions, bulk of planning remains unfinished
A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced its guidelines for the first phase of the most ambitious national vaccination campaign in modern history.
Yet beyond the guidelines advising states about how to deploy their vaccines — and a large Defense Department operation to deliver them — the Trump administration hasn't prepared for a major federal role, a lack of planning that is causing significant anxiety among state and local health officials.
The significant checklist of unmet federal responsibilities underscores the challenges ahead for President-elect Joe Biden, who inherits most of the burden for executing a successful nationwide campaign to vaccinate all Americans, potentially without the billions of dollars in additional funding that will be needed.
More than 2,800 in U.S. reported dead Thursday
The U.S. on Thursday again surpassed its record for coronavirus-related deaths when more than 2,800 people were confirmed dead from Covid-19, according to an NBC News tally.
The previous record came just one day earlier when the county also saw the highest number of new infections and hospitalizations.
Thursday was the third straight day the U.S. reported more than 2,000 deaths in a day. More than 276,700 people in the U.S. have died from the virus since the pandemic began.
Navajo Nation headed for lockdown amid 'major health care crisis'
A stay-at-home lockdown was announced Thursday in the Navajo Nation as officials there say its hospitals are grappling with a "major health care crisis."
In a statement, the office of the president and vice president ordered residents in the nation, which has a population of roughly 172,000 people and is spread across 27,000 square miles in three southwestern states, to stay at home for non-essential activities beginning Monday.
Weekend curfews will begin Dec. 11 and continue through the end of the month.
“We have been in a state of emergency since the pandemic began here on the Navajo Nation, but that has now elevated to a major health care crisis,” said Dr. Loretta Christensen, Chief Medical Officer for Navajo Area Indian Health Service.
“Our health care experts are now saying that the current wave or surge is far more severe and troublesome than the wave that we saw in April and May, perhaps four or five times larger according to projections,” she said.
Christensen said there is already a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen supplies and medical personnel.
More than 17,000 Navajo have been infected, or nearly 10 percent of the population. Six hundred and sixty-three people have died.