New Merck Covid pill reduces hospitalizations, deaths by 50 percent, drug-maker says

It's a possible breakthrough in the fight to contain the pandemic. Drugmaker Merck is asking federal health officials to grant emergency use authorization for its pill adding an easy-to-use weapon to the anti-Covid arsenal.

It could have a big impact on accessibility, though, some doctors warn it is not a silver bullet.

"It does reduce the severity of illness ... (it) doesn't prevent it entirely, but, it can potentially keep a lot of people out of the hospital," said Dr. Peter Hotez.

Merck says the pill reduces hospitalizations and deaths among infected people by some 50 percent. The FDA could give the drug the green light in a matter of weeks,

It's welcome news for officials in Covid hot spots, where demand for therapeutics is soaring and hospitals are being overrun.

"You look at the the folks who are going into our sites now, you know, it's 50-50 between people that, that have been vaccinated and not vaccinated," said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

There's also good news from America's top virologist. Doctor Anthony Fauci saying on Sunday, that it is safe to go trick or treating this year, and Halloween-themed businesses say the new guidance is already paying off.  

Fauci says if Covid trends keep going in the right direction, the new guidelines should hold for other holidays this fall.