The first official Covid-19 death in the US happened on 29 February 2020, 508,949 deaths ago. On Weekend Edition Sunday this morning, NPR talked to a few people about when they realized things had changed. (I realized it on March 12th, when our dress rehearsal for Bach's Johannespassion became our only performance of the work when the venue voted to close while we were rehearsing. At least we got a good recording of it. [I can't link to the video because of music union rules.])
Things continue to improve, though. US regulators Friday cleared the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for general use:
The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.
J&J initially is providing a few million doses and shipments to states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.
J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. The company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use.
“This is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “But I want to be clear: this fight is far from over,” he added, encouraging people to stick with masks and other public health measures.
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci urges everyone to get whatever vaccine they can, when they can:
In an interview with "Meet the Press," Fauci said that he would take any of the three approved vaccines — from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — because all provide strong protection from severe disease related to the coronavirus. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci was vaccinated late last year amid an early push to inspire confidence in the vaccine rollout.
“All three of them are really quite good, and people should take the one that's most available to them,” he said.
"If you go to a place and you have J&J, and that's the one that's available now, I would take it. I personally would do the same thing. I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”
We might not have a completely-normal summer, but if we "keep our foot on the accelerator," as Dr Fauci urges, we can have a completely-normal autumn.