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Fauci says Americans should get vaccinated even as Merck’s Covid pill reduces deaths.

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As the country’s death toll climbed above 700,000 in October, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an adviser on President Biden’s pandemic, the need for the 70 million Americans who qualify for a vaccine to be vaccinated during Sunday morning interviews. show.

“Many of those deaths were inevitable, but many, many are preventable, were preventable and will be preventable in the future,” said Dr. Fauci, who is also director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN’s State the Union.

dr. Fauci was enthusiastic about the development of Merck’s new antiviral pill, describing it as “extremely important.” Announcing the results of its clinical trial last Friday, Merck said the pill could cut the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus by half.

But he also warned that Americans shouldn’t wait to get vaccinated because they think they can take the Pill. While the new drug may reduce a person’s risk, the best way to be protected is to avoid infection, he said.

Merck said it would seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its drug, known as molnupiravir, as soon as possible. The pills could be available by the end of this year.

dr. Fauci pointed out the big difference in how many people died during Merck’s clinical trial for the treatment, with eight in the placebo group and none of those taking the drug. “That’s very impressive, so we’re really looking forward to implementing this and seeing its effect on people who are infected,” he said.

The federal government has placed advanced orders for 1.7 million doses of the new medication. But dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner under President Trump and a Pfizer board member, said that amount was “not enough” on CBS’ Face the Nation, which has covered just a month’s worth of infections in southern states since the Delta variant emerged. He also compared that amount to the national stockpile of drugs to treat a flu pandemic, which he said runs into the tens of millions.

Previously, Dr. Fauci the idea that federal officials hadn’t gotten enough of the drug, saying they had made “a fair bet” on the treatment.

“We have options for millions more,” he said on the program, predicting the company would ramp up production to meet demand in the United States and around the world.

dr. Fauci also expressed his optimism that the country was now seeing a slowdown in cases, hinting at a potential respite from the pandemic. “We’re definitely turning a corner with this particular wave,” he said during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week.”

But he also declined to predict whether people would be able to collect freely this coming Christmas, telling CBS News that “it’s just too early to say.”

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