The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has slowed considerably over the past two months. The number of new cases per day, which peaked at 225,000, has dropped by two-thirds. New fatal cases per day, which peaked at 4,000, have dropped by about the same percentage. Nevertheless, there are 29,402,796 confirmed cases in America, according to the Bing COVID-19 Tracker. That is about a quarter of the world’s total. U.S. deaths number 533,119, about 20% of the global figure.
Several forces are in play as public health officials try to drive the numbers even lower. One is the fact that some states have “opened up” and ended rules about mask wearing and public gatherings. Experts assume this will drive the rate of new cases per day higher.
Disease variants, which, in some cases spread faster than the version that raged from January 2020 until recently, have become a more frequent cause of new infections. Some of these may be resistant to current vaccines. There is not yet enough evidence to show whether that is true.
Finally, vaccination rates, which started slowly in January and February, have quickened recently.
There is a wide difference among the states when it comes to vaccination rates. Nationwide, 18% of the population has received at least one shot of the three available vaccines. Almost 10% of people have received two doses. Overall, 123,232,775 doses have been delivered across the country. Out of those, 93,692,598 shots have been given.
The state that lags the most in terms of giving two shots is Utah. The figure for the state stands at 7.4%. In Tennessee, which has the next lowest figure, it is 8.4%.
Why has Utah lagged in vaccinating its residents? TV station Fox 13 in Salt Lake City reports:
Jenny Johnson with the Utah Department of Health says the low numbers are mostly due to Utah’s young population. “Everything is allocated from the federal government to the states based on the percentage of a state’s adult population,” Johnson said.
It is a plausible explanation. Federal data shows that Utah’s population has the lowest median age among all states.