The U.S. has reached a tragic milestone in its battle against the coronavirus. The death toll has reached more than half a million people — higher than the number of Americans who died during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. The country’s number of deaths attributed to the virus is higher than any other country in the world.
The American Red Cross joins the nation in mourning the lives lost and recommits to our tireless endeavors to deliver our humanitarian mission to alleviate suffering for those in need.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 44.1 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 19.4 million people who have been fully vaccinated. Providers are administering an average of about 1.61 million doses per day.
State and local governments decide when each group gets access to vaccines. Visit your state or local health department for more information on eligibility and availability in your area.
Until enough people get vaccinated, the CDC reports it’s critical that you continue to wear masks, social distance, wash your hands and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. You can find vaccine information on the CDC web site.
Some people experience mild discomfort after they get a vaccine. This means the vaccine is working and creating an immune response in your body. If you experience side effects, it’s important to still make sure you get your second dose of the vaccine. More information is available here.
If you have questions, visit here to learn more.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO The CDC urges everyone to take these easy steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Stay at least six feet away from others who don’t live with you.
- Avoid crowds.
- If you are going out, avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
WHAT THE RED CROSS IS DOING As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue, the Red Cross is supporting local communities across the country in their efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
Depending on the circumstances, our support may include helping to set up vaccination sites, collecting information from people being vaccinated, and providing water and snacks for medical staff and people waiting to be vaccinated.
Red Cross volunteers who are medical professionals may also be working with local authorities to help give vaccinations if their state licenses permit them to do so. The Red Cross is also helping to vaccinate U.S. service members on bases around the globe and are active in U.S. veterans’ hospitals.
VIRUS VARIANTS Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the U.S. and globally during this pandemic. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily they spread, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart, avoiding crowds, washing your hands, and getting vaccinated when it’s available to you.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR MASK CORRECTLY When wearing a mask, make sure you can see and breathe easily. Find more information here.
- The CDC recommends that people don’t travel at this time. If you do travel, follow all CDC recommendations before, during and after travel.
- All air passengers coming to the U.S., including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the U.S.
- Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms and want to get tested, call your health care provider first. Visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.