DemDaily: The COVID Count. In Your State
March 1, 2021
On Saturday, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, offering a third line of defense in the war being waged against the deadly coronavirus pandemic that continues to take a toll on our country and its citizens.Although the vaccine has tested at 72% efficacy in preventing COVID infection, it has proven 100% effective in preventing new deaths and hospitalization during clinical trials. It also requires just one shot for vaccination, is easier to secure and deploy in regular refrigeration facilities, and has been successfully tested against different variants.
The first two vaccination companies, Moderna and Pfizer, have already committed to producing enough shots to vaccinate the entire country by the end of July. With the addition of Johnson & Johnson's 100 million doses, promised by the end of June, the hope for protecting every adult US citizen by this summer may be within reach.
When Donald Trump finally proclaimed a national emergency on March 13, 2020, there were 2,030 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 45 deaths.
Almost one year later, those numbers rest at 29,195,858 million cases and over 524,539 fatalities, as the Biden administration races to implement, at last, a national coronavirus policy and a unified coordinated response in the post-Trump era.
A New Era
The first three of Biden's 17 inauguration day executive orders related to immediate action on the pandemic, including mandatory mask-wearing requirements on federal property, the establishment of a White House COVID office, and rejoining the World Health Organization. Within the first five days, he issued 11 more pandemic-related directives.
Despite Biden's attempts to stabilize a process deeply politicized under Trump, the battle against the pandemic is still sharply divided along political lines at the federal and state level.
Administration of public health policy falls under the purview of each state's governor, with implementation strategies - along with the efficiency and equity of the process - varying from state to state.
Although employees may be required to wear masks on federal properties, there are currently 12 states -- all with Republican governors -- that have no requirements on mask-wearing, restrictions on businesses or stay-at-home orders in place related to the pandemic.
The Good News: The US has witnessed a six-week-long descent in COVID cases, with the seven-day case average for new infections having fallen close to 70% nationwide, bringing the average number of cases to levels last seen in early fall. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has declined by nearly 60% since the peak in January.
The Bad News: Just when it appears that the worst of the crisis may be over, the decline in cases appears to have leveled off, if not experienced a slight uptick in recent days. Scientists say the next week will be critical in monitoring the "concerning shift in the trajectory."
|"We may be done with the virus, but the virus is not done with us. We cannot get comfortable or give into a false sense of security that the worst of the pandemic is behind us." -- CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
The US is now administering an average of almost 1.75 million doses per day and has administered more than 2 million for three days in a row. That means the administration is on track to exceed its ambitious goal of 100 million vaccine doses in Biden's first 100 days.
Worldwide, there have been 114,302,776 reported cases and 2,534,921 deaths.
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Sources: Johns Hopkins CSSE and Center for Disease Control, NPR, NBC, ABC, New York Times, CNN