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Analysis: As 500,000th Covid death looms, US reaches pivotal moment

February 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20%. 1 min read.

The United States will within hours record its unfathomable 500,000th death from Covid-19 paradoxically at a moment of rare hope in the pandemic. Yet the tragic landmark will occur with the White House loath to predict when the crisis may ease as it balances critical political and epidemiological risks.

A warning from Dr. Anthony Fauci on CNN Sunday that Americans could be wearing masks into 2022 came as leading medical associations pleaded for extended vigilance from people exhausted by months of self-isolating and the punishing economic impact of the worst public health calamity in 100 years.

But the national dichotomy between fear and hope was exemplified by an announcement that more vaccines than ever are being sent to states and a fast ebbing of new cases of the novel coronavirus across most of the country.

The crisis swept away one President — who didn't sufficiently prioritize the health of his nation over his own political prospects — and is now testing another, who is vowing this week to be "laser focused" on a $1. 9 trillion Covid relief package designed to hasten the end of the pandemic and to ease its awful economic consequences.

Fauci explained Biden's caution on "State of the Union" when he noted that the President had warned against making projections.

There are so many other things that would make a projection that I give you today, on this Sunday, wind up not being the case six months from now," Fauci said.

"With new, more contagious variants of the virus circulating throughout the US, now is not the time to let your guard down and scale back on the measures that we know will work to prevent further illness and deaths," the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association said in a statement.

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