While the COVID infection rate in the US has dropped by 16% over the last two weeks, it’s still far too early to declare victory over the coronavirus. Especially with new COVID variants spreading across the US, not to mention a loosening up of COVID restrictions in dozens of US states, there’s a very real possibility that we could see yet another surge of COVID infections in the near future.
In fact, there are already nine states currently experiencing an upswing in COVID infections, a list that includes New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Idaho, Vermont, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. And while an uptick in the infection rate in states like West Virginia and Idaho are arguably less worrisome — given their respectively small populations — a rise in COVID infections in populous states like Michigan and Pennsylvania underscores the importance of adhering to established coronavirus safety guidelines.
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Taking a closer look at Michigan, data from The New York Times shows that the COVID infection rate in the state jumped by 77% over the last two weeks. So while the infection rate was as low as 800 new cases per day in mid-February, the state is now seeing more than 2,300 new cases every single day. Over in Idaho, the state isn’t only seeing a rise in new COVID cases, but also an increase in COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations.
Minnesota and New Jersey, meanwhile, have seen their respective COVID infection rates increase by 23% and 9% over the past two weeks.
“Don’t spike the ball on the five-yard line,” Dr. Fauci said recently. “Wait until you get into the end zone. We are not in the end zone yet. When I hear pulling back completely on public health measures, saying no more masks, no nothing like that, that is risky business.”
And speaking of risky, Fauci recently expressed concern about what’s going on in Texas. If you recall, Texas Governor Greg Abbot earlier this month issued an Executive Order which, in addition to lifting the mask mandate across the state, allows restaurants, bars, and other businesses to operate at 100% capacity if they so choose.
Of course, the ongoing vaccination effort in the US should help slow the pace of COVID infections, especially now that the vaccination rate is slowly but surely starting to increase. As it stands now, the US is currently vaccinating about 2.4 million Americans per day, a figure that’s significantly higher than the 1 million dose per day goal President Joe Biden was aiming for upon taking office.
Incidentally, Dr. Fauci recently said that people shouldn’t pick and choose which vaccine to take but should rather take whichever vaccine is available to them first.
“All three of them are highly efficacious,” Fauci said recently. “They have different characteristics, you know, cold storage, one dose versus two doses. But if I walked into a clinic and I wanted to get vaccinated and someone said, ‘You can have this vaccine now, or wait a few weeks for the next one,’ the important thing is to get vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can in order to protect yourselves, your family, and the community.”
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