On Friday alone, the US country welcomed more than 1.4 million passengers at the country’s airports – which is a record during the time of the pandemic.
“What we’re doing is basically spreading the B.1.1.7 variant across the country,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN on Sunday.
That’s because the number of past infections and now vaccinations in the United States have started to form “a sufficient safety net” to prevent another spike, former Food and Beverage Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday. Drug Administration, at CBS’s “Face the Nation”. .
“I think what you may have seen is a plateau for a while before we continued on a downward dip – largely because B.1.1.7 is becoming more prevalent, largely because we are withdrawing too quickly, in terms of removing our masks and lifting the mitigation measures, ”he said.
Other experts said the capping of reported cases from the United States could serve as a predictor of another surge. Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN last week that she believes the United States may be on the cusp of a new wave.
Others say it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen.
“It’s very difficult to say,” Hotez told CNN. “We’re in a race, that’s what it boils down to. We’ve received a single dose (of the Covid-19 vaccine) in about a quarter of the US population … and it could go either way now. . “
“That’s why it’s really important for governors to stay the course and put on masks and social distancing,” he added.
Spring breakers worry officials
Some travelers have landed in popular spring break destinations like Florida, where local officials say vacationers have been more than they can handle.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency and set a curfew on Saturday, telling CNN too many people were coming “with no intention of following the rules, and the result was a level of chaos and disorder which is just something more than we can endure. “
Florida has so far reported the highest number of cases of variant B.1.1.7 – which experts say is highly contagious and potentially more deadly – in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I wish people at least masked themselves,” Emergency doctor Dr Megan Ranney told CNN on Sunday, referring to the spring break crowds. “I expect very few of these young adults to have been vaccinated and watching them congregate in these crowds, even outside, makes me fear that they will bring this B.1.1.7 variant back to their country. origin and propagate it. . “
Other experts have expressed the same concern, warning that all returning vacationers could help fuel outbreaks of Covid-19 in other parts of the country, especially now that vaccination numbers are still so low.
The CDC currently continues to recommend that Americans delay their travel. And earlier this month, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky warned that whenever travel intensified, a spike in infections tended to follow, citing July 4, Labor Day and the winter holiday season.
“We’re very concerned about communicable variants. A lot of them have passed through our travel lanes, so we’re very careful with travel right now,” Walensky told CNN.
Reluctance over vaccines is ‘worrying’, says governor
So far, more than 81.4 million Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. This represents approximately 24.5% of the American population.
More than 44 million people – about 13.3% of the population – have been fully immunized, the data shows.
As the number continues to climb and leaders across the country use more methods to get vaccines faster – like opening more mass vaccination sites and expanding eligibility requirements – challenges still lie in the way of obtaining the collective immunity of the country.
These challenges include reluctance to immunize and political divisions. A recent CNN poll conducted by the SSRS shows that if 92% of Democrats say they have received a dose of the vaccine or plan to get one, it drops to 50% among Republicans.
When asked why he believed there was skepticism among Republicans, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN he thought it was “natural resistance to the government and a skepticism towards it “.
“The reluctance is worrying not only here, but across the country, and I believe that as a country we will achieve a vaccination rate of 50% of the population. But we will have a harder time going from 50% to 70%. %. And it’s about overcoming skepticism, it’s about education … but it’s also about trust, ”he said.
As more Americans see others getting vaccinated, the governor said he expects the acceptance rate of vaccines to increase.
In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson said late last week that if he encourages everyone to get the vaccine, “there will always be a certain number of people who don’t take the vaccine and they’ve got it right. the right to do so “.
“We need to do a better job of making sure everyone understands the importance of the vaccine, while still preserving respect for people who don’t want to be vaccinated, and it will be a challenge to see how many people can get us.” , but we’ll do whatever we can. “
New data on the AstraZeneca vaccine
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is expected to apply for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States in the coming weeks.
The vaccine has shown 79% efficacy against symptomatic illness and 100% efficacy against severe illness and hospitalization in a new US-based clinical trial, the company said on Monday.
The results of the new phase 3 trial, which included more than 32,000 participants, could boost confidence in the vaccine, which was originally developed by the University of Oxford.
Many European countries have suspended deployment over a small number of blood clot issues – going against advice from international medical agencies as the continent faces a third wave of infections fueled by variants of the virus.
The trial showed the vaccine to be well tolerated and did not identify any safety issues, the company said. An independent committee “found no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterized by thrombosis among the 21,583 participants receiving at least one dose of the vaccine,” according to AstraZeneca.
The new data comes from a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United States, Chile and Peru. AstraZeneca has announced its intention to submit the results to a scientific journal for peer review.