Great news: More Americans have now been vaccinated against COVID than have been infected

As of today, more than 27 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a number that exceeds the 26.6 million Americans who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

This milestone is significant for several reasons. Having one effective vaccine developed and distributed less than a year into a novel virus pandemic is extraordinary, much less having multiple vaccines already going into arms at this point. Increasing numbers of vaccinated people is a sign of hope that we may finally able to get out in front of this virus. Those most at risk—healthcare workers and our elders—are first in line for the vaccine, which means theoretically we should see hospitalization and death rates dropping.

But most notably, having equal numbers of people vaccinated as testing positive for the virus offers us a statistical picture of the risk-benefit ratio of the vaccine. Infectious disease specialists have explained that the vaccines are safe and effective, but some people are still wary. People worry about potential adverse reactions or unknown long-term effects of these new vaccines.

Here are the numbers as of now:

COVID cases: 26.6 million

COVID deaths: 450,000+

COVID vaccines: 27 million

COVID vaccine deaths: 0


The first vaccines were administered to trial participants all the way back in March, so it's not like these vaccines are brand new. They've been around almost as the virus. (That's the beauty of mRNA vaccines—they are very fast to develop.) Of course, the masses didn't start getting them until mid-December, nearly two months ago. In those two months, we have lost 150,000 Americans to COVID and zero to COVID vaccines.

Before anyone says, "But what about that guy I saw on the news who died after getting the vaccine?!" please remember that correlation does not equal causation. The CDC has determined that there is no link between any deaths that have occurred after someone was vaccinated and the vaccines themselves.

It's just a numbers game. When you have more than a million people a day receiving the vaccine and 8,000 Americans dying of all causes per day in the U.S., some people are going to coincidentally die after getting a vaccine. That doesn't mean the vaccine had anything to do with their death.

"These medical events occur every single day, including unexplained illnesses," Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told ABC News. "The question really is, do they occur at a greater rate in the vaccinated population than they do in the general population?"

So far, not even close. One in every 45,000 Americans dies every day. If a million Americans get the vaccine each day, statistically we'd expect around 20 of them to die from causes having nothing to do with the vaccine. And it's not like doctors just assume someone's death wasn't caused by the vaccine. They investigate it each time it happens.

"The CDC, FDA, CMS and the Department of Defense are all collaborating on a series of surveillance activities for medical events that occur after vaccination," Schaffner said. "They are looking for these events, gathering and investigating them in a very systematic fashion."

As of now, we have no vaccine deaths out of the 27 million people who have received one or both shots. There have been a handful of allergic reactions, which prompted a stronger warning for people who tend to suffer from anaphylactic allergic responses, but even those were a statistically tiny number. People do have reactions, which are to be expected—pain and swelling at the injection site and sometimes fever, chills, and body aches. Flu-like symptoms are a sign that the body is doing what it's supposed to be doing to learn how to fight the virus.

We know the risks of the virus are real, not only for death but for severe illness, hospitalization, and ongoing health problems. We know that some patients end up with long-term effects—organ damage, blood vessel disorders, and more. We know that even people with mild symptoms initially can end up with serious lingering issues. Does it make sense to choose something that we know can have long-term effects, can cause serious illness, and can result in death over a vaccine shown to have none of those risks so far and no scientific reason to believe it will?

Anything new in medicine is bound to make people wary, but hopefully this milestone will help more Americans feel good about getting the vaccine. We're in a race for time, especially against the more contagious variants of the virus, so the faster we can reach a critical mass of people who are fully vaccinated, the faster we'll be able to get back to some semblance of normal life.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries to have reached this milestone, which is worth celebrating. With so much struggle and suffering throughout this pandemic, we'll take all the good coronavirus news we can get.


Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

"But I recently made TikTok and said I'd share it on that and I'm so glad I did now!" he continued.

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

A teacher's message has gone viral after he let his student sleep in class — for the kindest reason.

Teachers spend time preparing lesson plans and trying to engage students in learning. The least a kid can do is stay awake in class, right?

But high school English teacher Monte Syrie sees things differently. In a Twitter thread, he explained why he didn't take it personally when his student Meg fell asleep — and why he didn't wake her up.

Keep Reading Show less
via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

Keep Reading Show less