“How much death, disease and misery are we going to see?”

Coronavirus Local Impact

FILE – In this March 29, 2021, file photo, people wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines at a site in Philadelphia. Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states, including Pennsylvania — a situation that puts pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

BOSTON (SHNS) – White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt on Wednesday ticked through positive developments on vaccine eligibility, doses administered, school openings, and an expansion of the federal government’s community health center vaccine program before returning to a common refrain.

“Wear a mask. Socially distance. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Slavitt said. Despite the progress, he pointed out that the vaccination effort is “still not even halfway there” and “the progress we have made can be reversed if we let our guard down.”

Slavitt then offered more perspective. “Better days are on the horizon. We do believe a more normal Fourth of July holiday is within reach. But that’s nearly three months away,” he said. “And as the President said, ‘The real question is: How much death, disease, and misery are we going to see between now and then?'”

In his update Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker pointed to 1,566 new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday and noted that 169 of the 725 people in Massachusetts hospitalized for COVID-19 are in intensive care units. With 12 new deaths reported Tuesday, the state is on the verge of surpassing the 17,000 mark for confirmed virus deaths during the pandemic.

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