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US coronavirus: Five states account for 43% of new cases in the past week

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey had more than 196,400 of the country’s 453,360 cases reported in the past week, according to available data Wednesday morning.

These states are home to only 22% of the U.S. population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Based on our latest estimates from CDC monitoring, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States,” Walensky said at a briefing by the White House Covid-19 response team.

With more transmissible variants being added, increases like Michigan could soon be seen more widely, even though vaccination rates have risen nationally, said epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm.

“I wish we had another three or four months before this B.1

.1.7 variant increase began to occur,” Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said Tuesday.

The country’s daily rate of new cases of coronavirus has increased most of the last four weeks. Part of this is due to the proliferation of B.1.1.7 and other variants, Walensky said earlier in the week.
The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccines
The United States has averaged over 64,760 new cases of coronavirus a day over the past week – slightly lower than the week before, but still about 18% higher than two weeks ago and 12% higher than four weeks ago, according to Johns Hopkins.

The wave of variants in some states like Michigan should make the federal government think about changing how it allocates vaccines, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown School of Public Health, CNN on Wednesday.

“In some states … the number of cases is actually declining – California is one of them. Other states like Michigan, they are actually doing a perfect job with vaccinations, but they have a huge increase,” Jha said.

“So the federal strategy should be to move more vaccines to places like Michigan that are rising so they can use more vaccinations to stop this wave and save lives,” he said.

The CDC says more than 16,200 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been confirmed in surveillance tests in the United States, and B.1.1.7 has been found in all 50 states. This number does not represent the total number of such cases circulating in the United States, but rather only those found by analyzing positive samples.

CDC Director: Decreasing number of daily deaths could be ‘an impact of vaccination’

While cases have recently increased or platinumed, the number of daily Covid-19 deaths has dropped.

The U.S. averaged 774 Covid-19 deaths a day over the past week – down 22% from the average the week before, according to Johns Hopkins data.

It is even further down from the first day of March, when the average was around 2,000 deaths a day.

At Wednesday’s briefing, Walensky attributed these declining numbers to vaccinations.

“I am really encouraged by this decline in the number of deaths, which I believe is an impact of vaccination, especially the vaccination of our older communities,” Walensky said.

But, she added, the number of current cases is “too high to believe we have won this race.”

According to the latest CDC data, 19% of the total U.S. population was fully vaccinated as of Monday morning; and 56.6% of the population aged 65 and over in the United States are fully vaccinated.

Half of American adults may have had their first shot over the weekend, the White House said

By the end of the weekend, the United States will approach nearly half of all adults who get their first shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, a White House official said.

But advances in vaccines do not mean the country is done with the pandemic, a Biden administration adviser said Tuesday.

“We need to remember that there are 100 million adults who have still not been vaccinated,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the Covid-19 response, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “They are not there yet, and you do not win the war until you bring everyone with you.”

As of early Monday, the United States had more than 107.6 million people aged 18 and over with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. That’s about 41.7% of adults in the United States, according to CDC data.
President Joe Biden has set a goal for each state to open vaccination to all adults who want them by April 19th. This task becomes easier as the supply and availability of vaccines increases, Slavitt said.
The bite moves the deadline for all U.S. adults to be eligible for the Covid vaccine to April 19th
But the United States has a long way to go before it reaches flock immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated that 70% -85% of the population must be immune. And the rate of vaccination of all willing adults varies widely between states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
While states like New York and North Dakota may vaccinate all willing adults by June, it may take some states until the end of 2021. And in a race against both spread variants and increased Covid-19 fatigue, experts say it is imperative to vaccinate. Americans fast.

Some states are withdrawing mask mandates and opening up capacity for businesses. But Fauci said Tuesday that previous preventative measures, while the majority of Americans are still unvaccinated, are a mistake.

“It’s too early to declare victory,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We need to go ahead and hang on there a little bit longer by continuing with public health measures.”

The U.S. still has the tools to stay the course even when the public is tired, Slavitt said. Opening up vaccine availability and focusing on vulnerable groups, as the U.S. did to give 80% of teachers and school staff at least one shot amid calls for the school to reopen, could help the nation continue to fight Covid-19, Slavitt said.

Plans to reopen as vaccinations increase

Although health experts warn that the fight against Covid-19 has not yet been won, many states have already reopened, and others are planning soon as well.

California, the first state to implement a lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fully reopen activities and businesses by June 15, state officials said Tuesday. The state’s mask mandate remains in place at least in the short term, said government Gavin Newsom.
California says it will reopen in June, citing declining Covid-19 rates

Falling infection rates, low admissions and rising vaccinations are the reasons California can reopen, said Secretary of State for Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Phil Scott of Vermont laid out a 90-day reopening plan through July 4th. At that time, the state plans to transfer Covid-19 mandates for guidance.

At that time, officials in Vermont expect that about 70% of state residents will have received at least one vaccine dose.

Many school districts are also preparing to relocate their plans. Of the 101 largest school districts in the country, more than half offer a full personal option, though full remote control is still available for the families who choose it.

The move comes as just over half of parents – 52% – said they are likely to have their children vaccinated against Covid-19 when a vaccine becomes available for their age group, according to the results of a new Axios-Ipsos poll published Tuesday.

Correction: An earlier version of this story and the headline of the story overestimated the percentage of American adults who will be vaccinated by the end of the weekend. The White House clarified that the United States will approach having nearly half of all adults with their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine by this weekend.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Lauren Mascarenhas, Betsy Klein, Ashley Ahn, Kaitlan Collins, Jennifer Henderson, Michael Nedelman, Cheri Mossburg, Ryan Prior and Lauren del Valle contributed to this report.

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