U.K. COVID Variant May Be More Lethal

“By the time we get to April,” that will be “the open season, meaning that virtually anyone and anyone in any category could start getting the vaccine,” Fauci noted.

Despite the good news, he warned that it would take “several more months” to deliver vaccines to Americans, but herd immunity could be obtained by the end of the summer. As of Monday, more than 70 million doses have been distributed, while nearly 53 million Americans have been vaccinated. Over 14 million people have had their second chance.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Americans can now skip quarantines if exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, according to new federal guidelines.

“Fully vaccinated people who meet the criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following exposure to someone with COVID-19,” the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidance published on their website on Wednesday.

There was a caveat: at least two weeks must have passed since the second shot, as it takes that long to build full immunity. But the CDC says it’s not known how long the protection lasts, so people who had their last vaccine three months or more ago should still quarantine if they are exposed or have symptoms, the agency added.

“This recommendation to forgo quarantine for people immunocompromised by a vaccine is consistent with quarantine recommendations for people who are immune,” the CDC said. People who have been vaccinated should still watch for symptoms for 14 days after being exposed to an infected person, the agency added.

This does not mean that vaccinated people should stop practicing social distancing, the CDC noted.

“At this time, those vaccinated should continue to follow current guidelines to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least six feet from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands often, following CDC travel advice, and following applicable workplace or school guidelines, including relative guidelines using personal protective equipment or testing for SARS-CoV-2, ”the agency said.

A global scourge

As of Monday, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States topped 27.6 million while the death toll topped 485,000, according to a Times tally. As of Monday, the top five states for coronavirus infections were: California with nearly 3.5 million cases; Texas with over 2.5 million cases; Florida with over 1.8 million cases; New York with over 1.5 million cases; and Illinois with more than 1.1 million cases.

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Jothi Venkat

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