After weeks of encouraging declines, cases of coronavirus in the US are on the rise again, with the average number of daily infections rising to nearly 57,000 on Wednesday – four percent more than a week earlier.
Another 67,443 new infections were recorded Thursday, a lower figure than Wednesday, but still at nearly three percent compared to March 18. Another 1,558 Americans died of the infection.
With cases rising in more than half of the US states in the past two weeks, America could be on the doorstep of the fourth wave that public health officials have warned amid relaxing restrictions.
But it’s the same pattern that Israel saw – until the rapid roll-out of vaccines suppressed the resurgence of the coronavirus.
The number of cases of COVID-19 may also be on the rise in the US, but that is not delaying the introduction of America’s own vaccine.
The initially chaotic vaccination campaign in the US is gaining momentum. With 2.5 million doses delivered per day – including 2.8 million yesterday – the country is on track to have 75 percent of the population immunized within four months, Bloomberg said.
An additional 27 million doses of vaccines from three manufacturers – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are expected to be delivered to the US states next week as the supply from the shot makers grows.
And all but six states in the US have announced that they will soon expand vaccination options to anyone 16 or older, ahead of President Biden’s plan to direct all states to allow all adults to be eligible by May 1. come.
The question is whether the rollout of the vaccine will win the ‘race’ against increasing coronavirus cases – especially now that variants are emerging in the US.
Israel’s daily COVID-19 infections (green) continued to rise for a month after the introduction of the vaccine, fueled by the UK variant that became dominant there in late January, but as the proportion of the vaccinated population rose to 25%, vaccine campaign crushed the wave. The number of cases has also increased slightly in the US (brown), but at 2.5 million shots per day, the US is on track to follow Israel’s lead
According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 8,300 cases of COVID-19 caused by the more contagious B117 variant have been confirmed in the US.
More than 266 and nearly 80 cases have been attributed to the potentially vaccine-avoidant South African and Brazilian variants.
And homegrown ‘worrying variants’ emerging in California and New York are rapidly gaining ground amid fears that they are at least 20 percent more contagious and could weaken the effects of vaccines.
The UK’s B117 variant was likely dominant in Israel in late January, contributing to a massive rise despite the country’s leading global vaccination campaign.
Will the US be able to reduce COVID-19 spikes as variants emerge?
If the trajectory of the Israeli pandemic since it began vaccinating people against the virus is any indication, the answer is most likely yes.
The number of cases in Israel continued to increase for nearly a month after the rollout began on December 19.
The initial rise was a continuation of a rebound that started in November, according to tracking by Our World in Data.
Between December 19 and the height of the Israeli outbreak on January 17, the number of infections per capita soared by more than 1,300 percent.
And then the daily infections started to freefall, but Israel saw the downward trend reversed momentarily twice.
Now infections are down 80 percent since March 6.
By the time the final decline started in Israel, about half of the country’s population had been fully vaccinated and the country was almost completely reopened – for those fully vaccinated people, who had ‘Green Passes’ with them.
Declines in severe COVID-19 cases and fatalities were evident almost immediately, and the total number of daily infections now follows suit.
The pattern is repeated in three other countries that have vaccinated at least a quarter of the population: the Seychelles, the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UK, which has given at least one dose to more than 43 percent of its population with its controversial delayed dose plan, is moving in the same direction.
Dramatic downward trends in COVID-19 cases are likely on the horizon for the US – but the nation isn’t quite there yet.
More than 26 percent of the population has had at least one dose, but only 14.3 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
So, if America wants to hit the magical 25 percent fully vaccinated benchmark when cases start to decline, according to Bloomberg’s tracking, the US needs to give a second dose to another 10 percent of the population, about 33 million people.
About half of the US supply shipped weekly is for second doses, so it makes sense that about half of the injections given each day are second doses.
Israel is well ahead of the US vaccination campaign, but with 2.5 million injections per day, America is on track to have 75% of its population vaccinated within the next four months, and a quarter will be fully vaccinated in about a month to be.
At the rate of 2.5 million injections per day, that extra 10 percent of people will not be fully vaccinated for nearly another month (about 26 days, according to an analysis by DailyMail.com).
But that sobering timeline isn’t stopping some states from reopening. Texas, Mississippi and Florida have pretty much dropped all their restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus – despite having less than the national average of their populations fully vaccinated.
Texas has one of the slowest rates of vaccination in the country, with only 11.5 percent of the population fully immunized. Only Utah, Washington, DC, and Georgia are lagging behind the continental US states.
For now, cases continue to fall in large states like Texas, where the daily infection rate has dropped 23 percent in the past two weeks.
A Bloomberg analysis suggests the declines seen there “ mask ” increases in other states.
Michigan, for example, is seeing a massive rise, with daily infections rising nearly 71 percent in the past two weeks, according to American date.
The state joins Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware and saw hospital admissions soar in the past week, according to a Analysis from the University of Minnesota.
Inevitably, the number of coronavirus cases will decline as the number of Americans fully vaccinated increases.
But how many people get sick, hospitalized, or die from COVID-19 between now and then will depend not only on vaccination, but on the same exhausting but proven mitigation efforts that public health officials have been preaching for a year: the wearing masks, keeping your distance and washing hands.