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‘Post-seasonal surge’: Dr Anthony Fauci says worst of Covid-19 pandemic still to come

The top infectious disease expert of the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci, on Sunday said that he believes the worst of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is yet to arrive. During an interview on CNN’s State of the Union show, Dr Fauci was asked whether he agrees with president-elect Joe Biden’s recent statement on the ongoing pandemic that the darkest days in the battle against Covid-19 is “ahead of us”.

“I do,” replied Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. “We very well might see a post-seasonal – in the sense of Christmas, New Year’s – surge,” he added.

The United States has, so far, recorded nearly 332,000 Covid-19 related deaths, and a report suggests that the country will witness a total of over 567,000 deaths by April 1, 2021. According to the predictions from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE), around 193,000 people could lose their lives over the next two months.

Earlier this week, Dr Fauci was administered with Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine as a part of a confidence-building effort by health officials. The 80-year-old immunologist said that he feels fine after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, adding that he only felt an ache in his arm that lasted around 24 hours.

“Then it went away and completely other than that, I felt no other deleterious type of effects,” he said.

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The United States has rolled out two Covid-19 vaccines – one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and the other by Moderna – for health care and frontline workers and for those at high risk. There have been concerns over the recent reports of severe allergic reactions after receiving the first dose of vaccine. However, public health experts have said that those cases as “rare” and “in line with the expectations.”

Dr Ashish K Jha, Dean, Brown University School of Public Health, pointed out that over a million people have been vaccinated against Covid-19 and less than 10 people have had allergic reactions, highlighting that one in 2,000 courses of penicillin also leads to an allergic reaction. Taking to Twitter, Dr Jha said that though it is important to determine the cause of these reactions, he was pleasantly surprised how well the immunisation drive is going so far.

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