The Costs of Coronavirus – Part 4

Since our last update on the costs associated with COVID-19 in January, the United States has begun to make meaningful progress in distributing vaccines, vaccination rates, and slowing the spread of the coronavirus within its borders. There are now three FDA-approved vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, including one approved for emergency use among children as young as 12 years old.


Over 1,000-4,000 Americans died from COVID-19 every day in the final months of the Trump administration. Former President Trump refused to meaningfully address the ongoing pandemic in their final weeks in office, even going so far as to needlessly delay signing relief legislation — jeopardizing benefits for millions of Americans in need. Following two vaccines being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December, the Trump administration lagged far behind its target of 20 million Americans inoculated by the end of 2020 and left no plan for how to distribute the vaccine for the incoming Biden administration.


The anniversary of the first confirmed diagnosis of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. was also the date of the inauguration of President Joe Biden. In his first 100 days in office, over 200 million doses of approved vaccines were administered to nearly 150 million people. He signed the American Rescue Plan aimed at both providing additional funding for fighting the pandemic and helping the economy through the resulting recession. The measure included aid to state and local governments, increased unemployment insurance, support for vaccination efforts, education aid, tax credits, housing assistance, and a provision that no one must spend more than 8.5% of their income on insurance premiums — marking one of the most significant changes to the affordability of private insurance since the Affordable Care Act


The pandemic has continued to affect nearly every aspect of American life. Over 41% of American workers were remote full-time in 2020, with an expected 26% to stay working from home in 2021. Lower-income workers are more likely to not have the option of teleworking while being at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. Every unmasked/close personal interaction can come with risk of coronavirus infection — all while dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theories continue to hinder public health efforts.


Racism remains a significant factor of COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China. Despite the scientific classifications, some people have continually attributed the disease to a name with overtly racist connotations: “Chinese virus.” Attaching the virus to an ethnicity has caused Asian-Americans to become targets of racism and xenophobia, making them subject to hostility and assault. This racial profiling and targeting stems from the false notions that East Asians are to blame for the emergence of COVID-19 and/or are viral carriers by virtue of their ethnicity. Normalizing the association between the coronavirus and those of Asian descent only causes further division at a time when fear and confusion surrounding the facts continues to be harmful to public health.


At the time of publishing, there have been 32,975,491 reported cases and 586,598 deaths in the United States, though a new study estimates the number may be closer to 900,000 deaths in the U.S. These numbers do not include patients who died as a result of fewer available resources from the strained healthcare system.


The circumstances and information surrounding COVID-19 are constantly evolving. We at NeedyMeds will continue to keep our users apprised of new information as it becomes available as well as counter misinformation in the interest of keeping our readers and the public safe.


For those looking for information on receiving a coronavirus vaccine, eligibility has opened to include nearly all adults and children over 12 years old. Search online for your state’s requirements, area’s locations, and appointment availability. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that herd immunity may not be reached until 90% of the United States’ population — up to 300 million Americans — are vaccinated, though there are concerns if herd immunity can ever possibly be achieved in the United States or globally. At the time of publication, 157,827,208 people in the U.S. (47% of the total population) have received at least one dose of the available vaccines including 123,828,224 people (37%) who have been fully vaccinated. Globally, only 19% have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.


If you are presenting symptoms and think you may have contracted COVID-19, call your healthcare provider or local healthcare facility. Based on your symptoms and exposure, they will decide if you need to be evaluated in person. They will give you instructions on how to arrive in a way that limits exposure. Medical facilities and doctors’ offices ask that everyone call ahead so they can make arrangements to protect others when people come in for testing. In the meantime, if you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, assume you have it and self-isolate. Take all measures to prevent spread — wearing a mask and social distancing in particular. Seek emergency care when appropriate.


The NeedyMeds website has a database of over 100 nationwide resources for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. We also have listings for over 18,000 free, low-cost, or sliding scale clinics for those concerned about the costs of healthcare. Search your ZIP code for clinics in your area to find free or low-cost medical attention. Remember to call first if you are seeking information about the availability of COVID-19 testing/vaccination. The free NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card can be used by anyone to help save money on their prescribed medication — even over-the-counter medicine if prescribed by a doctor. The card is available physically via mail, in a printable form, or as a smartphone app for Apple and Android devices. For more help finding information, call our toll-free helpline Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Eastern Time at 1-800-503-6897.

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Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.