The spread of COVID-19 has slowed more rapidly than many scientists and public policy experts expected. A month ago, daily confirmed cases often rose by over 200,000 a day many days. That rate slowed to 64,375 yesterday, as the U.S. total rose to 28,325,091. That is still 25% of the world’s total. Deaths from the disease, which increased by as much as 4,000 a day a month ago, rose 1,660 yesterday to 502,493, or about 20% of the global figure.
The improvement likely has been helped by government policy for social distancing, partial shutdowns of the economy, the fact that so many people already have had the disease and a modest rise in vaccination rates. Vaccines are not completely effective without two doses. Some states have done a much better job of this than others.
One of the reasons the rate of vaccinations is so critical is that there are at least three new variants of COVID-19 in the U.S. They came from South Africa, the U.K., and Brazil. At least one, labeled B.1.1.7, spreads more quickly than the version that has infected Americans over the last 13 months. That means there could be a race between vaccinations and another surge of the disease.
Nationwide, 74,979,165 doses have been delivered. Out of those, 61,289,500 shots have been given, or 82%. Most of those given remain first doses. Across the United States, people who have been given at least one shot are 13.0% of the total adult population. The figure for those given two shots is up to 5.4%.
The state that has the worst record for two shots given is Illinois at 4.2%. At least Illinois matches the national average of 13.0% for at least one shot given to its adult population. However, it ranks poorly by another measure. A total of 2,924,725 doses have been delivered to the state. Of those “shots given” stand at 2,261,482, or 77%.
Illinois state government has been criticized for the pace at which it has vaccinated its population. According to The Chicago Tribune:
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s team announced last week it will enlist federal Disaster Survivor Assistance teams to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cook and St. Clair counties. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Cook County $49 million to help with vaccine distribution.
That’s entirely appropriate because so far, Illinois’ rollout of vaccinations has been flat-out disastrous.
The tragedy of the situation is that if a new variant does attack the U.S. and create another surge, Illinois residents will be very vulnerable.