Health experts claim that while Covid-19 vaccinations in the US are currently rolling out at a successful rate, not enough individuals are protected in the country to gain a proper herd immunity, and another surge may be on the way if we don’t continue to protect ourselves in the coming months.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over the weekend more than 4 million vaccine doses were administered in 24 hours, and the nation is currently averaging more than 3 million doses a day.
However, CDC data also shows that only 18.5% of Americans are fully vaccinated at this point. Dr. Celine Gounder is an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist who recently spoke to the press about how this increase in case numbers is still a major cause for concern even with the rollout of multiple vaccines.
“I do think we still have a few more rough weeks ahead. What we know from the past year of the pandemic is that we tend to trend about three to four weeks behind Europe in terms of our pandemic patterns.”
In Europe specifically the highly contagious B117 variant of the virus has caused a major irse in case numbers and hospitalizations. Experts worry the US could face a similar fate if Americans don’t continue to abide by health and safety measures, regardless of if they’re vaccinated or not.
“What’s worse is that the variant is changing the pandemic’s playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven’t yet been vaccinated. We have to think about the B.1.1.7 variant as almost a brand new virus. It’s acting differently from anything we’ve seen before, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of affecting young people, so we have to take this very seriously,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
More than 54% of Americans 65 and older have been fully vaccinated at this point, according to CDC data, and more than 75% of individuals in that demographic have received their first dose. It’s for this reason that younger groups are being more closely monitored in terms of new cases and hospitalizations.
“We’re seeing in places like Michigan that the people who are now getting hospitalized by large numbers are people in their 30s and 40s, and now we’re even seeing children getting infected in larger numbers, too, and it’s not just Michigan. What we’re seeing is pockets of infection around the country, particularly in younger people who haven’t been vaccinated, and also in school-aged children,” former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a press conference this past weekend in which he urged all Americans to double down on safety measures to protect themselves and others from the virus and its new variants.
“We say it over and over again and we need the local people, we need the governors and the mayors and others to be able to say, ‘We’re not out of it yet,’ people say, ‘Well, you just want to confine us forever.’ No, this is not going to last forever because every day that you get four million, three million people vaccinated, you get closer and closer to control,” Fauci said.
Health experts believe if the entire country stayed indoors for the next six weeks while vaccinations continue, we’re likely be in a much better place by the summer.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.