The number of Covid-19 in the United States is declining, even as its variants are being hidden and vaccine introduction is delayed
The United States is still at one of the worst points of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily mortality is close to its peak, and other daily statistics are still shockingly high compared to where they were before the late 2020 spike.
However, the number of Covid-19 cases and the number of hospital admissions is declining. Vaccines here, perhaps even more versions, warmer weather is approaching. The United States is still at one of the worst points of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily mortality is close to its peak, and other daily statistics are still shockingly high compared to where they were before the late 2020 spike.
Vaccines are here, there may be more versions and warmer weather is approaching. Some health experts say the US even has a chance to get back to normal by early fall. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci made that prediction last week, suggesting that 70% to 85% of the US population will be vaccinated by the end of the summer.
Low daily vaccination rates, a shortage of vaccines and hesitancy of some about vaccinations are interfering. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, variants of the virus that appear to be more transmissible are emerging with increasing frequency, which could exacerbate the already raging spread of the virus.
Still, the administration of President Joe Biden says it has taken steps to speed up vaccinations. And experts, including Fauci, are optimistic that current vaccines will largely protect against known variants, although they warn that the more the virus spreads, the more likely mutations could defeat existing vaccines.
So while the country waits for widespread vaccine distribution, the steps people need to take to slow the spread are the same as ever: wear masks, avoid crowded areas and wash their hands, experts say.
About these options
Scientists are watching several known strains of the coronavirus that are believed to be more transmissible than previous versions. This includes one first found in the UK (B.1.1.7), one first found in Brazil (P.1) and one found in South Africa (B.1.351).
Researchers are also watching the variant found in California, Fauci said Monday, although it is unclear if it is more transmissible. Strain B.1.1.7 could become the predominant variant in the US in March and has the potential to increase the trajectory of a pandemic in the US in the coming months, the CDC said in a report this month.
Dr. Leana Ven, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, is among experts worried that more transmissible variants could lead to more cases if they take hold. We saw what happens in other countries where the coronavirus is actually under relatively good control, then these options took over and they had an explosive spread of the virus and then it took over hospitals, Wen told CNN on Monday.
Vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible. One obvious way to combat these variants and reduce the chances of more dangerous mutations occurring, Fauci said is by vaccination. The best way to prevent the evolution of mutants is to suppress the amount of virus circulating in the population. And the best way to do this is to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, Fauci told CNN on Monday.
Fortunately, Fauci said, existing Covid-19 vaccines are likely to be effective against newer variants. Evidence indicates that the effectiveness of vaccine-induced antibodies may be reduced against a mutant first discovered in South Africa, but this is still within the acceptable range of an effective vaccine, Fauci said.
Moderna and Pfizer say experiments show that their vaccines will protect people from new options. And while the company believes its current two-dose vaccine will be effective, Moderna said it will develop a potential booster vaccine against this option just in case.