The spread of COVID-19 has slowed considerably in the past several weeks, but not before an extraordinary 500,000 people in the United States died of the disease, a figure that has increased recently by well over 1,000 a day nationwide. The daily growth in U.S. confirmed cases also has slowed, but the total of 28,403,664 remains about 25% of the world’s total. Some experts believe that the figure is undercounted by more than half.
To slow the spread of the disease more quickly, among the most crucial tools is vaccination. The process in the United States has been slow, and only 13% of the adult population has received at least one shot. However, in one state, the number is well above that and is the best total among all states.
The vaccination rate is a race against both the disease that has infected most of the millions of Americans who have been sickened and new versions of the disease. Three new variants have hit the country. These are from Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The U.K. variant spreads very quickly. Some scientists believe it will become the dominant strain as early as next month. If so, Americans may face at least one more surge.
Compared to the 13% vaccination rate nationwide, Alaska’s figure has hit 21% for adults who have received at least one shot. It also leads in the country in the number of adults who have been given two doses with a figure of 11%. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are over 94% effective, so the state is well on its way to beating back the disease.
Alaska has a small confirmed case count compared to the rest of America. However, that is because its population ranks last among all states at 738,432. So far, Alaska has 57,405 confirmed cases and 289 deaths. The state has not avoided the worst of the disease entirely. The New York Times lists its Aleutians West Census Area as the county where COVID-19 has grown the fastest over the past seven days based on cases per 100,000.
Alaska has been fortunate in one way when it comes to vaccine availability. According to Bloomberg, “For one thing, Alaska’s large number of Indigenous residents and military personnel allowed the state to receive a larger early allocation of vaccines, compared to more populous states.”
Alaska is far enough ahead of most other states that, because the supply of doses continues to be strong, it should remain at or near the top for vaccination rates.
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