WASHINGTON DC (CNN) - January is on track to be the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
A stunning statement from Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests it didn't have to be this bad.
With COVID-19 deaths still far too high, a blunt admission. When asked, "did the lack of candor, did the lack of facts in some cases over the last year cost lives?", Fauci said "You know, it very likely did."
There have been more than 411,000 lost to the virus, with nearly 4,000 more added just Thursday.
Nationwide, average new cases are down by more than 20 percent over the past week.
One trouble spot is Virginia, where that number is moving in the opposite direction, up a staggering 19-percent while overall hospitalizations are declining.
"Now, just under 10 percent of in-patient beds in this state are being used for patients with COVID-19," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. Michigan chief medical executive.
The hot spots remain.
"As soon as you start to tend to a situation to try and get your bearings with that, quickly another emergency arises," Melody Nungaray-Ortiz, an ICU nurse said.
In California, ICU availability is at an all-time low.
Hard-hit Los Angeles added virus warning signs in high risk areas.
"We wanted to make it as powerful, as colorful as possible," said Luis Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Los Angeles Councilmember Gil Cedillo.
The CDC sparked confusion with new guidance about the coronavirus vaccine by now advising it's okay to wait as long as six weeks between doses.
"You're taking a chance," Fauci said.
Fauci walked that initial reaction a few hours later.
"Sometimes, the situation is stressed where it's very difficult to be exactly on time, he said. "So we're saying, you can probably do it six weeks later. There's no disagreement at all between me and the CDC."
Meantime, many eligible Americans, still struggling to get their first dose.
"You get a busy signal or no answer," James Pritt said.
Six in ten people still don't know where or when they can get a vaccine, according to a new study.
"We are just learning as we go, and it's been painful," said Dr. Paul Offit of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The most common issue is supply.
"Our biggest limiting factor right now is vaccine," Kim Saruwatari, director of public health in Riverside County, Calif. said.
Florida has been cracking down on "vaccine tourism" to ensure enough doses for residents.
The FDNY also is pulling back on planned vaccinations as new york city's stock runs low.
Meantime, it won't look like this.
Super Bowl LV will allow 22,000 fans to watch the big game in person.
Among them, some 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.
"We hope that this program will be a small way to celebrate you, honor you, and most importantly, thank you," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
That game is scheduled to take place Feb. 7 In Tampa, Fla.