The pace of the spread of COVID-19 had slowed across America. Increases in daily fatal and confirmed cases are still about half what they were seven weeks ago. Nevertheless, 561,775 Americans have died, which is about 20% of the world’s total. Confirmed cases have reached 31,056,277, or about 23% of the global number. Hospitalizations, which were over 100,000 a day during the peak wave, dropped into the thousands. However, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports they have begun to rise again in more than half the states. By one commonly used measure, almost half the new cases are in just five states.
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, 33% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 19% are fully vaccinated. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots, the one from Johnson & Johnson requires just a single dose. According to The New York Times, 219,194,215 doses have been delivered in the United States and 168,592,075 of them have been administered.
Variants of the disease 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. This variant also could be more deadly. 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.
Additionally, much of the country has “opened up,” which has caused worries that there will be a fourth wave of the disease. Just two weeks ago, the nation’s newspapers were filled with reports of large college parties in Florida with hundreds of people in close proximity without masks. More people flew over the Easter weekend than any other weekend since the start of the pandemic. This kind of activity has led to public health officials predicting that fourth wave.
According to a New York Post analysis of new COVID-19 cases, there were approximately 452,000 of them in America between March 29 and April 4. The paper used information from Johns Hopkins for its analysis. Of these, approximately 198,000, or 44%, were in New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. New York accounted for about 53,000, while Michigan accounted for about 47,000 and Florida for about 38,000. Pennsylvania and New Jersey each accounted for slightly less than 30,000, according to the study.
While COVID-19’s worst spread and death toll have moved from state to state, county to county and city to city over the past 15 months, the analysis shows the extent to which these hotspots have appeared in a small number of places. It is still an open question whether the increase in these states is the start of another wave of the pandemic.
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