The rate 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, 565,507 Americans have died, which is about 20% of the world’s total. Confirmed cases have reached 31,207,770, or about 23% of the global number. Hospitalizations, which were over 100,000 a day during the peak wave, dropped into the thousands. However, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows they have begun to rise again in more than half the states, led by Michigan, New York and New Jersey.
Variants of the disease are among the dangers epidemiologist and public health officials worry about. At least one, first identified in the United Kingdom, now accounts for most new U.S. cases. This variant also could be more deadly. The three variants the CDC currently tracks for the public have been found in all 50 states. Other variants have emerged that the CDC does not report 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. Many of those infected soon will start to show symptoms, if they have not already. This kind of activity has led to public health officials predicting that fourth wave.
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, 34% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine and 20% 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, 229,398,685 doses have been delivered in the United States and 174,879,716 of them have been administered. That is 76% of doses delivered.
The state that has done the best job vaccinating its residents so far is New Hampshire. Forty-five percent of its residents have been given at least one shot, and 22% have been fully vaccinated. A total of 948,915 doses have been delivered. From those, 858,460 shots have been given, which is 90% of the doses delivered.
Even with this level of success, local officials do not want to let their guards down. WMUR quotes Gov. Chris Sununu as saying: “We’re not at the point where we should be taking victory laps on anything. We are still in the thick of it. We are working so hard, just trying to get the vaccine out.”
It may be that his philosophy is why the state is doing so well.