It took just over a year for COVID-19 to kill half a million Americans. 

By now, it should be a cautionary tale — health professionals laid out ways to save lives, public officials chose not to follow them, mass casualties ensued. An expert commission recently estimated that if the United States had responded as similarly wealthy countries did to the threat, we could have averted 40% — tens of thousands — of American COVID-19 deaths. 

As we mourn and remember the people we’ve lost, let’s not forget that we are in a high-stakes race against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that caused COVID-19. If we act swiftly, we have a chance to pull ahead and put the worst of this crisis behind us in the next few months. That means you could visit your family with less fear that you’ll transmit or contract the virus. You could breathe a little easier when you step out your door every day. 

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