For many, a nationwide return to normalcy from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to accelerate into the summer as more businesses and state governments prepare for a large-scale reopening. Sports stadiums are filling up, mask mandates are being shed, and travel and tourism industries anticipate a rebound with cruise lines planning for passengers once again.
Health officials have pointed out, however, that such successes are largely contingent on getting the US fully vaccinated as quickly as possible. And right now, the rate of vaccination is slowing.
The average daily pace of coronavirus vaccinations is down almost 50% from its April peak, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Thursday.
Over the past week, about 1.8 million vaccine doses have been administered each day, a 46% drop from the peak rate of nearly 3.4 million per day in mid-April.
One expert told CNN that the health community is worried about what lies ahead. Clusters of unvaccinated people may become infected with Covid-19 as they move indoors to beat the summer heat, particularly in the South, noting that a similar situation happened last year.
“If we have large numbers of unvaccinated people in those states, we may very well see a surge in those states, so I think a lot of us are worried about that,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday.
Roughly 48% of Americans of all ages have received at least one dose of vaccine and 38% are fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the CDC. The country is closing in on half of those ages 18 and up being fully vaccinated.
Yet the rate of inoculations nationwide is uneven, with some states far outpacing others.
The eight states with the fewest vaccine doses administered per capita are Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Wyoming, Idaho, Georgia and Tennessee, according to the CDC.
The states with the most administered per capita are Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Rhode Island, New Mexico and New Jersey. Washington, DC has a rate of vaccination that would qualify in the top eight if it were a state, according to the CDC.
Good news continues to emerge from places ahead of the national vaccination average. For the first time since March 2020, there are no Covid-19 patients at San Francisco General Hospital, the largest primary care facility in the city, hospital spokesperson Cristina Padilla told CNN.
San Francisco celebrated its one millionth dose of the vaccine this week. As of May 19, 76% of the eligible San Francisco population has been vaccinated, according to the city’s department of public health.
“There is no doubt we still have a long road of recovery ahead, and we will tackle each phase with the same dedication and care that we always do,” Padilla said.
May 21, 2021