Lost in the chaos of variants, vaccination rates and decisions from state to state, city to city and company to company is the fact that the basic rules to slow the spread of COVID-19 remain the same. However, several states either have ignored the pleas or took them to heart only to reject them again as cases have started to fall.
The rate at which COVID-19 has spread across America has slowed recently. Fatal cases per day have dropped from as many as 4,000 a day two months ago to under 2,000 most days. Daily confirmed case growth has decreased from as many as 225,000 a day to less than 100,000. (Here are the worst COVID-19 hot spots in every state).
Nevertheless, 523,852 people have died from the disease in the United States, which is about 20% of the world’s total. Confirmed cases number 29,066,212, about 25% of the world’s number. Many epidemiologists believe that the confirmed case figure is low by half because of inadequate testing.
24/7 Wall St. took data from USA Today and AARP to determine the 16 states without mask mandates. Among those on our list is Texas, which will drop the mandate on March 10. We then added the number of fatal cases and confirmed cases from the Microsoft Bing COVID-19 Tracker, for which 24/7 Wall St. provides data. Finally, we took vaccination rates and doses delivered to each state from the “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States” tables provided at its website and an analysis of these tables from The New York Times.
The primary weapons against the spread of the disease remain social distancing and mask wearing. In the past two months, vaccination has joined the list. The Trump administration forecast a relatively rapid pace of vaccination for the early months of 2021. Most of those goals were missed. Recently, the Biden administration said it would have enough vaccine doses for all American adults by the end of May.
One reason for the increase in the pace is that Merck has agreed to make the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was recently approved to be used along with those from Pfizer and Moderna.
The need for a rapid pace of vaccination has heightened recently. Variants of the COVID-19 virus have begun to spread rapidly in America, particularly one first detected in the United Kingdom. The CDC tracks three of these variants, identified as B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1, for the public. These variants have been detected in at least 46 states so far. Additionally, new variants have emerged in California and New York.
As of Wednesday, 16% of the adult population has been given at least one vaccine dose and just over 8% has received two shots. That is, 107,028,890 doses have been distributed and 80,540,474 shots have been administered.
The vaccination rate and slowing cases and deaths, more than anything else, are used as reasons to “reopen.” This means people without masks, indoor gatherings, people moving back to offices and, with that, an almost certain new rise in cases.