46 of 50 US states saw an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases last week, sounding the alarm bell to health and government officials. After weeks of steady progress, the overall case numbers almost doubled in one week across the country. Here is the latest on the virus and the efforts to contain it.
Where Cases are Surging: It comes as no surprise to health experts that the states that are seeing the biggest increase in confirmed cases are also the states that have the lowest vaccination rates. According to data from John Hopkins University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states that have fully vaccinated over half of their residents saw an average case rate that is approximately one-third of the states that have vaccinated less than half of their residents.Read More »
Conversely, Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the US with 66% of its population fully vaccinated. Although case rates went up slightly last week, the numbers came in at less than one new case per 100,000 people daily. This is far below the nationwide average.
Among the states that have fully vaccinated over half of their residents, the daily average of new cases is 2.8 per 100,000 residents. This compares to a daily average of approximately 7.8 cases per 100,000 people in states that have not reached the 50% mark in vaccination rates.
Vaccination Rates: Across the US, 56.2% of individuals 12 or older are fully vaccinated. The pace of vaccination has dropped sharply over the last few months. Only about 246,000 Americans initiated the vaccination process each day last week. This figure is down 88% since the peak of daily vaccinations last April.
According to the CDC, over 99% of all COVID-19 deaths in the month of June were in the unvaccinated population. The data is even more clear when looking at the stats of individual states. For example, California reported 8,699 confirmed positive cases in unvaccinated people between January 1 and June 30. Of this number, 652 were hospitalized and 71 passed away. This compares to the 37,180 Californians who died during that same time period due to COVID-19. Health officials are using this data to point to the effectiveness of the vaccines.
States Leading the Vaccination Game: There are now 20 states that have fully vaccinated over half of their residents. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Washington, DC has also reached this milestone.
Age Demographics of Vaccination Rates: Of those eligible to receive the vaccine, the 65-74 age group is seeing the highest rates with a whopping 81% of this demographic fully vaccinated. The least vaccinated group falls between the ages 12-15 with only 25% fully vaccinated. Seniors ages 75 and above are 77% fully vaccinated.
States Restricting Schools from Requiring Vaccinations: Seven states have already restricted their public school systems from mandating vaccinations for students this fall. These seven states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah. The debate around vaccine requirements is already heating up in advance of a new start to the school year just around the corner.
Also on the debate stage at the state level are mask mandates for students. There is a varied school of thought on this issue with some states leaving it up to the individual districts to decide and other states restricting the ability of schools to require masks.
FDA Updates Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Label: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the decision on Monday to update the label on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The update was made after concerns of a potentially higher risk of seeing a neurological complication known as Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The FDA said that it could not determine if the vaccine specifically caused the syndrome, however, it wanted to note the uptick in reports of the condition after the shot. The reports indicate an increased risk of the syndrome during the first 42 days after the vaccination.
According to preliminary data, there are about 100 reports of the syndrome of the roughly 12.8 million doses of the vaccine given.
Organizations Band Together to Recommend Mandatory Vaccination for Healthcare Workers: A group of seven respected national epidemiology and infection prevention organizations recently banded together to recommend that all hospitals and medical facilities mandate that employees receive the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for employment. The groups released a consensus statement on Tuesday detailing the recommendation.
The group said that exceptions could be made for individuals who have medical conditions that prevent them from safely getting the vaccine. The joint statement leaned on data about the high efficacy of the approved vaccines. The statement also pointed out that sufficient vaccination rates to achieve herd immunity are not likely to be achieved at this point, making it even more critical that healthcare workers get vaccinated to protect themselves and their patients.
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