While the growth of the COVID-19 virus across the U.S. has slowed, it remains a tremendous danger. The daily growth of confirmed cases has slow to under 100,000 from an amount much more than twice that three short months ago. New fatal cases per day now run as low as 1,000, which is much as three quarters lower than the peak. Nevertheless, there have been 29,633,697 confirmed cases so far, which is about 25% of the world’s total. Fatal cases in the U.S. are 538,918, about 20% of the global number.
Vaccination rates have risen quickly in the last two weeks. The Biden Administration says it will have enough vaccine for all Americans by May 1. At this point, 21% of Americans have received at least one dose and 11% have been fully vaccinated. Nationwide, 135,846,665 doses have been delivered and 105,703,501 have been given.
There are two challenges to further slowing the spread of the disease. The first is variants, some of which may spread faster than the version which infected most people from last January until recently. The CDC tracks three of these for the public–the B.1.1.7, the B.1.351, and the P.1 variant. There are variants in all 50 states, and epidemiologists believe that there are more than these three.
The other challenge is the opening up of parts of the U.S. Texas, the second largest state by population is a case in point. The governor has dropped the state’s mask mandate, and allowed a renewal of social gatherings, and opened businesses. Public health officials worry this may cause a fourth wave of the disease.
Much of the reported data about COVID-19 covers raw numbers–deaths, recoveries, hospitalizations, and confirmed cases. However, these figures do not allow people to compare places with very different population sizes. The solution is to report numbers on a per 100,000 person basis.
The New York Times measures states based on cases per 100,000 in the last seven days. Hawaii has the best figures based on this metric at 4. At the far end of the spectrum, New Jersey has a figure of 40.
Among Hawaii’s counties, the one with the lowest score is Kauai County which has a count below one. The county covers the islands of Kauaʻi, Niʻihau, Lehua, and Kaʻula. It has a population of 72,293, according to the U.S. Census. The median household income is $83,554, well above the national average. At 9.3%, the poverty rate is slightly below the national number.
The COVID-19 situation in the county is good enough that it will begin to lift the travel restrictions which have battered Hawaii’s economy. According to USAToday, “The relaxed restrictions come in the wake of the roll out of vaccines, a stabilizing of COVID-19 cases across Hawaii and other parts of the U.S., and contingency plans by hospitals in case there’s a COVID-19 surge.”