The rate at which COVID-19 is spreading in America has slowed substantially. Deaths from the disease, which averaged over 4,000 a day eight weeks ago, have dropped to below 1,000 on many days. Confirmed cases, which increased by as much as 225,000 a day two months ago, currently rise much less than half of that. Nevertheless, fatal cases in the United States number 521,504, about a fifth of the world’s total. Confirmed cases have reached 29,000,070, or about 25% of the global total.
Because of spotty testing practices and asymptomatic carriers, the confirmed case count in America is suspected to be too low.
Vaccines continue to become a major guard against the spread of the disease, along with traditional social distancing and mask wearing. Some states, however, have started to “reopen” and drop mask-wearing mandates. Texas did this yesterday.
About 16% of the adult population in the United States has received at least one dose of vaccine. About 8% of Americans have been given two shots. As of yesterday, 102,353,940 doses of vaccine had been distributed. Of those 78,631,601 had been administered.
A relatively new hurdle in the way of the efforts to reduce COVID-19 cases sharply is a series of disease variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracks three of these on its website. These have been found in 46 states so far. Among the worries about them, particularly one from the United Kingdom, is that they could be fast spreading.
In addition, two other variants have been diagnosed in New York State and California. The CDC recently warned that variants could be one cause of a fourth surge of the disease in America.
One way to track the rise of the disease is by cases per 100,000 averaged over the past seven days. The New York Times tracks this by state and by county.
Among the 10 states with the highest number by this measure, New York is first with a figure of 38. This state was hit the hardest early on in the spread of the disease last year, from mid-March through April. It has clearly begun to reemerge in the area, another example of how the disease can hit a region twice, or more.
New Jersey also has a figure of 38. Like New York, it was hit early in the spread of the disease. Rhode Island follows at 35.
The states with the most rapid spread then move south to South Carolina with a figure of 33. Delaware has a figure of 29, and then the rapid spread moves back south. Georgia posts a figure of 28, and Florida’s is 26.
The rapid spread number then returns to the New York region with Connecticut at 26. The next state is Texas at 25, followed by North Carolina at 23.
The data show the extent to which the disease’s most rapid spread has moved to the northeast and southeast. Notably absent from the list were terribly hard-hit California, which was the epicenter of the spread just two months ago. Also absent are the sparsely populated states of North and South Dakota, which on a per-100,000 measure were devastated at the end of last year.