The pace of the spread of COVID-19 has slowed across America. Increases in daily fatal cases and confirmed cases are about half of 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 few 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 16% 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, 180,646,465 doses have been delivered in the United States and 143,462,691 doses have been administered, which is a ratio of 75%.
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. This is the state with the most variants.
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.
Several states have moved well ahead of most of the nation when measured by vaccination rate. The state that has done the best so far is New Mexico. Thirty-eight percent of the population has been given at least one dose. Twenty-three percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. A total of 1,337,435 doses have been delivered to the state. From those, 1,224,826 shots have been given, for a ratio of 92%.
Even with such a strong track record, many people in New Mexico continue to wait to be vaccinated. According to television station KOB4:
Dr. Tracie Collins, cabinet secretary for the Department of Health, said next week’s allocation of vaccine will be more 116,000 doses, which includes 12,100 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
“This is approximately 20,000 more doses than last week,” Collins said. “And we have huge capacity. We have the capacity to distribute thousands more doses each week.”
Even the state leading the nation has challenges.