The spread of COVID-19 has slowed considerably from six weeks ago when the “holiday surge” peaked. Deaths in America have reached 517,204, about 20% of the world total. However, the daily increase in the U.S. has dropped to about 2,000 deaths a day from 4,000 in mid-January. Confirmed cases have hit 28,833,039, about 25% of the world total. The daily U.S. increase runs below 100,000 some days, after a peak of nearly 250,000.
There is a three-way race to stanch the spread of the disease. First, variants have started to appear. The CDC publicly tracks three of these and reports numbers to the public on its “US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants” page. Today, these variants are in 45 states. One, from the U.K. appears to spread much faster than the others, which, epidemiologists worry, may cause another surge in the disease.
Next, there is the matter of testing. More than one scientist believes the actual number of cases in the U.S. is double the official figure. Weak testing protocols have been blamed. Without widespread testing and tracing, the course of infection is hard to track, and thus control.
Finally, vaccination remains the ultimate way in which COVID-19 will be brought under control. However, the rate has been slow, particularly compared to the pace the Trump Admiistttioan forecast in December. The Biden Administration said it has procured 200 million vaccines that will be available by July. And, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about to be joined by one from Johnson & Johnson, which, in theory, should speed the vaccination process.
Only 15% of the adult population in the U.S. has gotten at least one dose. A much smaller percentage–7.1% of adults–have gotten two shots. On a raw county basis, 96,402,290 doses have been delivered and 72,806,180 shots have been given within the U.S. and among its territories. The figures have lagged behind other developed nations, particularly the U.K. and Isreal. However, the U.S. sits ahead of most EU nations as measured by the percent of adults who have received vaccines.
The state that has done the worst jobs vaccinating its residents is Utah. Among the adults, 12% have received at least one dose. Only 5.5% have been given two shots. A total of 820,950 doses have been delivered in Utah and 687,876 shots have been given.
At the other end of the spectrum, in Alaska, 22% have been given one dose, and 13% have been given two shots.
Utah has posted 370,770 confirmed cases and 1,929 deaths. Salt Lake County accounts for many of these with 138,506 confirmed cases and 762 deaths.
The reason Utah sits behind other states may have to do with shipments. The Desert News reports:
Utah’s COVID-19 vaccine shipments that were delayed last week due to winter storms nationwide should be caught up by Thursday, and state officials are hoping the federal government’s allotment of first doses soon will increase by more than 50% with the expected approval of a new vaccine.
The state’s residents must hope that is true.