America’s Covid-19 infections are climbing again, and could soon hit a weekly average of 100,000 cases a day as daily case reports increase more than 20 percent across the upper midwest.
The change in the number of cases comes as temperatures begin to cool with the approach of winter, forcing people indoors where the virus is believed to spread more readily.
It is also happening ahead of the Thanksgiving national holiday where tens of millions of Americans are expected to travel all over the country as families gather together in homes for the annual feast.
The seven-day moving average for new COVID-19 cases in the US was 93,196 on Friday. On 25 October it had been 70,271.
According to the New York Times, Michigan and Minnesota lead the country by a significant margin in recent cases per capita. Federal medical workers will travel to Minnesota to bolster hospital staffing there.
Several states with relatively high vaccination rates are also in the midst of significant outbreaks. New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont are all reporting elevated case levels.
As we have seen in Europe, vaccination rates do make a difference in the outcome of the virus, and a nation’s overall vaccination rate can be a significant factor in protecting the public.
Nearly three out of five Americans (59 percent) are fully vaccinated. The country is administering about 1.5 million new doses a day, a number that grew after booster shots and vaccines for younger children were authorized.
For older adults, those 65 and up, 89 percent are fully vaccinated, and for those 12 and up, 69 percent are fully vaccinated. With all these impressive numbers, it still leaves around 60 million Americans who have not received the coronavirus vaccine.
The case for COVID booster shots
After the CDC on Friday recommended that everyone over the age of 18 get a COVID booster shot, White House chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday to discuss the recent announcement.
Readers will note that the NYT data shown above refers to people who are “fully vaccinated.” This means they have had two of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those with their original vaccination protection are still considered “fully vaccinated,” despite indications that immunity can wane, Dr. Fauci said Sunday.
However, following recent statements from governors of Connecticut and New Mexico — who have said they do not consider an individual fully vaccinated unless they have received a booster due to the drop one can see in immunity, Host Martha Raddatz pressed Fauci on why the White House has not adopted that standard.
“We’ll continue to follow the data, because right now when we’re boosting people, what we’re doing is following them,” Fauci said. “We’re going to see what the durability of that protection is, and as we always do, you just follow and let the data guide your policy and let the data guide your recommendations.”
“If you’re vaccinated — and hopefully, you’ll be boosted, too — and your family is, you can enjoy a typical Thanksgiving meal or Thanksgiving holiday with your family,” Fauci said. “The thing we are concerned about is the people who are not vaccinated because what they’re doing is, they’re the major source of the dynamics of the infection in the community. And the higher the level of dynamics of infection, the more everyone is at risk.”