The pace of the spread of COVID-19 has slowed across America. Increases in daily fatal cases and confirmed cases are about half what they were seven weeks ago. Nevertheless, 550,726 Americans have died, which is about 20% of the world’s total. Confirmed cases have reached 30,223,587, or about 25% of the global number.
The range of the severity of the disease by state and county varies considerably. In a very small number of the 3,143 U.S. counties and county-equivalents, not a single person has died of COVID-19.
The pace of the spread of the disease remains in part a race between vaccinations and the rising number of potentially dangerous variants. So far, 28% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 15% are fully vaccinated. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, the one from Johnson & Johnson requires just one. According to The New York Times, 180,644,125 doses have been delivered in the United States and 140,180,735 doses have been administered.
Additionally, much of the country has “opened up,” and this has caused worries that there will be a fourth wave of the disease. The nation’s newspapers were filled with reports of large college parties in Florida with hundreds of people in close proximity without masks.
Variants are among the dangers epidemiologist and public health officials worry about. At least one, first identified in the United Kingdom, could soon account for most new U.S. cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently tracks three variants for the public. They have been found in all 50 states, and a number of other variants have emerged that the CDC does not report on to the public. Among the most recent observations about variants is how they might affect the future of the spread of the disease. According to The Sun:
Mutant strains of coronavirus will continue to reinfect people every two to four years, a top scientist has warned. Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, said more variants would emerge even as the pandemic recedes – but not all of them would be a cause for concern.
The CDC report on variants shows there have been 8,682 cases of variants reported in the U.S. The CDC data clearly lags because the actual number is many times that. Among these, there have been 8,337 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant reported across all 50 states, 266 cases of the B.1.351 across 29 states, and 79 of the P.1 variant in 19 states.
The state with the most variants is Florida at 1,075. Of these 1,042 are the B.1.1.7 variant, 23 are the B.1.351 variant, and 10 are the P.1 variant.