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Five Minute News 12/15/21: COVID-19 Death Tolls, Treatment Efficacy, Vaccination Rates, &Omicron Concerns

Five Minute News 12/15/21: COVID-19 Death Tolls, Treatment Efficacy, Vaccination Rates, &Omicron Concerns

The Five Minute News podcast from Meidas Touch is a daily update on global news and events in the areas of politics, human rights, health, and economy. It’s an effective way to catch up quickly as you start your day. Catch the Five Minute News on your favorite podcast app and get informed without slogging through opinions or dramatization.

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Wednesday’s episode focuses on COVID-19, addressing vaccination rates, a new medication Pfizer hopes to have approved and on the market to combat the symptoms of the virus, and the death toll, which continues to grow at an alarming rate. You can view the entire episode below.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone has hit 800,000, Johns Hopkins University says, with about a quarter of those deaths coming after the vaccines became available. This is disproportionately high, accounting for about 15% of the global death toll despite the United States representing about 4% of the global population. The death toll is considered to be higher due to cases overlooked or kept under wraps. About 60% of the U.S. population is vaccinated, which scientists say falls short of the necessary levels.

Omicron is raising concerns since the lower-level of symptoms may mean less caution and more spread, which in turn means further mutation of the virus, especially as some vaccines on the market currently may not be as effective against Omicron.

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Pfizer has a pill for treatment of the virus that they say has high efficacy, including against Omicron, in trials, and the company is seeking FDA approval for the medication, which would be the first widely-available oral medication for the virus. President Biden says his administration has already ordered enough of the pills to treat 10 million Americans.

There are concerns about Africa’s vaccination rates, which current data shows may not reach the goal of 70% before late 2024, with only about 8% of the population currently fully vaxxed.

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