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Covid-19 vaccines have saved 3 million lives in the United States, study finds, but the fight is not over


Covid-19 vaccines have kept more than 18.5 million people in the United States out of hospital and saved more than 3.2 million lives, a new study says – and that estimate is most likely conservative, researchers say .

The United States is approaching the second anniversary of its first Covid-19 vaccinations, and although the coronavirus still causes thousands of illnesses and deaths, vaccines have made life with the virus more manageable.

To determine exactly how much the injections helped, researchers from the Commonwealth Fund and the Yale School of Public Health created a computer model of disease transmission that incorporates demographic information, people’s risk factors, the dynamics of infection and general information on vaccination.

Their study, published on Tuesday, found that without Covid-19 vaccines, the country would have had 1.5 times more infections, 3.8 times more hospitalizations and 4.1 times more deaths than between December 2020. and November 2022.

As it stands, Covid-19 has caused at least 99.2 million cases and over 1.08 million deaths in the United States. Last week alone, there were 2,981 new deaths and 30,253 new hospital admissions, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study estimates that vaccinations were also a good financial bet, saving US$1.15 trillion in medical costs.

If you take into account the long Covid cases that vaccines are likely prevented, the savings could be much greater, according to Alison Galvani, one of the authors of the study.

“Given the urgency of highly transmissible variants and immune evasion variants like Omicron, this is a remarkable achievement and an extraordinary achievement,” said Galvani, founding director of the Yale Center for Modeling and Analysis. infectious diseases.

“Going forward, accelerating uptake of the new booster will be fundamental to avoiding future hospitalizations and deaths. »

Nearly 658 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States. However, uptake of the new boosters – which target the original virus strain as well as the Omicron BA.4/5 subvariants – has been slow since they were authorized this fall. Only about 14% of the eligible population has received one, and 1 in 5 people in the United States are still unvaccinated, according to the CDC.

The Biden Administration has encouraged more Americans to boost up, especially with upcoming holiday gatherings.

” Do not wait. If you wait, you put yourself at risk,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday at an AARP event. “We are entering the coldest months of late fall and early winter. We will all be reuniting with our families and friends for the holidays. If you’re up to date, great. If you’re not, get vaccinated now.

The number of Covid-19 cases is trending up, as are deaths and hospitalizations, according to the CDC.

About 14% of the US population lives in an area that meets the CDC’s criteria for a “high” community level of Covid-19, including New York, Los Angeles County and Maricopa County, Arizona – a sharp increase compared to less than 5% last week, but well below the levels of previous surges. And at this level, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors.

“We’re all sick of the disease,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said Friday. “Each of us has the power to significantly reduce our risk of getting sick. »

While the numbers are trending up, experts suggest masks may be appropriate in some circumstances.

The CDC recommends wearing a mask for anyone on public transportation. He also suggests wearing one in other public places in communities where the level of transmission is high. People at high risk of serious illness should wear masks even in areas where community levels are only average.

Other basic prevention measures still apply: keep your hands clean and stay home if you are sick.

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