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Fauci warns of ‘setback’ in COVID fight after brutal polar vortex

As states across the country continue to grapple with fallout from a deadly polar vortex, senior health officials at Biden fear the one-day emergency will also lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases , hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks.

Over the past few days, senior administration officials have rushed to assemble a federal response to the winter emergency, primarily in Texas, but also in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and other states in the Northwest and Southwest. South. As part of that response, the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinated the shipment of 60 generators, meals, blankets, water, diesel, and other rescue supplies to Texas. President has approved emergency declarations in several states and he has personally spoken with dozens of local and state officials in Texas to see what more can be done to help those in need.

Beyond assessing and resolving the obvious risks associated with a lack of electricity, water, or access to reliable health care, administration officials strive to understand the entire The scale of the COVID-19 problems caused by the storm, including the closure of vaccination sites in more than six. States and delay in shipping nearly 6 million doses of vaccine. Officials say their biggest fear is that the increase in transmission between people who gather indoors to find warmth will spike in new cases as vaccination slows in the state in due to weather conditions. The state was set to dramatically expand vaccination before the storm hit by setting up a mass vaccination site in coordination with Pentagon and FEMA officials. Site set-up personnel were late in arriving in Texas due to .

“Look at the trends in hospitalizations and deaths from illnesses. They were really going radically in the right direction. I just hope we bounce back and I think we will, ”said Dr. Anthony Fauci, medical adviser to President , in an interview on Friday. “It’s a setback. We have to keep doing whatever we can – doing the same things that we have done and that we know are working. I know, it’s hard to do that. When you are not at home, because the pipes have exploded, you and your family are freezing and you may have to go to the shelter. Obviously, this is not an optimal way to prevent the spread of disease. But I hope this will be fixed quickly.

Officials also fear that the situation on the ground, mainly the lack of water and electricity in hospitals, especially in rural communities, will lead to the deaths of those already seeking care for the virus. A senior Biden official said there was no reliable way to track COVID-19 cases and deaths in real time, but that they expected the health department of the State of Texas is reporting both COVID-19 related deaths and other deaths caused by the storm in the coming weeks. .

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