MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) – The White House Coronavirus Task Force is issuing a warning to the public saying the COVID risk to all Americans is at a historic high.
The update given by the task force on Wednesday comes on the same day British officials authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
The vaccine approved was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the first group of Americans to get the vaccine should be healthcare workers and those who live in long-term care facilities.
“Healthcare personnel are on the frontlines taking care of patients and protecting them in this time of pandemic is particularly important,” said CDC Advisory Committee Member Dr. Robert Atmar.
“We’ve seen the nightmares of patients getting tubes put in their throat because of their COVID infections, and they don’t believe it’s real,” said Local Nurses Union President Martha Baker. “I mean, it’s unbelievable and caregivers are, quite frankly, having to bear the weight of this.”
The next group to be considered by the CDC are essential workers.
The CDC estimates most people in the high-priority groups could be vaccinated by early 2021 if the vaccines are approved by mid-December.
The Food and Drug Administration is meeting Dec. 10 to review data of Pfizer’s vaccine proving to be 95% effective.
On Dec. 17, the FDA will go over Moderna’s vaccine data, showing to be 94.1% effective.
Just over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state were reported by the Florida Department of Health on Wednesday.
“We’re really two weeks away from, actually, a point of no return. What that means for us locally, I do not know,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Officials reported nearly 3,000 new cases across South Florida.
“There’s no question that this is already having an impact on our entire healthcare system,” said Dr. Eileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University.
Health officials are urging the public not to travel for the holidays. Those who do are urged to follow CDC guidelines and get tested.
Those who are over 65 or have significant health conditions are advised to not enter any indoor public spaces where others are unmasked. These high-risk individuals should have their groceries and medications delivered.
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