The number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States has declined significantly in recent months. A situation particularly dependent on vaccination, which at the same time had the effect of significantly relaxing the restrictions.
But the spread of the Delta variant among the unvaccinated segment of the population is likely to pose a new threat, public health experts say.
On its way to becoming the dominant strain globally, the Delta variant has a contagiousness that surpasses that of other COVID-19 variants. Cases of the variant – first identified in India – are now recorded in more than 80 countries.
Currently accounting for up to 10% of cases in the United States and present in at least 41 states, it could soon cause an upsurge in infections.
Interviewed a few days ago by the ABC television channel, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said she was of the opinion that the Delta variant will be
probably the dominant strain in the United States within the next two months.
The variant’s spread models predict that the country could reach a new peak in the fall, which could be equivalent to a fifth of the peak of 300,000 new daily cases recorded in January, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration said on Sunday. , Scott Gottlieb, in an interview with CBS.
But infection rates will vary based on vaccination rates in each region of the country, he warned, pointing to states like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri, states that blame a clear delay compared to the national average.
Data from the Helix laboratory, which tests for the coronavirus and has analyzed nearly 20,000 tests since April, shows that the Delta variant is spreading rapidly in the counties with the least vaccinations.
Geographic and political disparities
According to CDC data as of June 20, 45.1% of Americans have received all of their doses of the vaccine, one of the highest rates in the world.
But the American states show significant disparities, which could have repercussions on the transmission of the Delta variant.
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According to data compiled by the Mayo Clinic, a US nonprofit academic medical center, 16 states, including the District of Columbia, have full vaccination rates above 50%.
A full vaccination is equivalent to two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or to a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
With a full vaccination rate of 64.1%, Vermont leads the way, followed by Maine (59.8%), Massachusetts (59.8%), Connecticut (58.8%) and Rhode among others. Island (56.9%), all located in the American Northeast, a region where the vaccination campaign is particularly effective.
State vaccination rates also reveal a partisan divide.
The 20 states with the highest rates of full vaccination all voted for Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election.
In return, 17 of the 20 lagging states, mostly southern states, voted for Donald Trump.
In Mississippi, only 28.9% of citizens obtained all doses of their vaccine. Alabama, Arkansas, Wyoming and Louisiana do little better, with respective rates of 31.9%, 33.3%, 33.6% and 33.7%.
In early May, President Biden set a new vaccination target, hoping for a return to some normalcy for the American Independence Day celebrations: having administered at least one dose to 70% of American adults by here. the symbolic date of July 4.
Less than three weeks ago, he unveiled an all-out strategy to convince Americans to get vaccinated, by launching a
national action month.
Childcare services free of charge, vaccination in barber shops, discounts in shops, contests, donuts, beers and free baseball tickets: his administration has implemented many measures with its partners in order to reach the target set.
However, it seems that the United States will not succeed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the leader – Vermont – has already surpassed the target, with 73.1% of its residents having received at least one dose. At 69%, Hawaii and Massachusetts are close by, and several states are expected to cross the 70% mark within the next two weeks.
Others will inevitably sink the statistics. For example, Mississippi, again at the back of the pack, administered a dose to only 35.4% of its population.
According to the polls, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say categorically that they will not get the vaccine. The figures show that they were also more resistant or even hostile to wearing masks and social distancing, like ex-President Trump.