Around half of all US adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while a quarter of the population has been fully inoculated. While that’s an impressive number, it’s not enough to achieve herd immunity and suppress the virus.
But Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the country remains in a “complicated stage.”
“Cases among younger people who have not yet been vaccinated are also increasing,” she told a White House briefing yesterday.
Experts say there are several reasons behind the rise in Covid-19 numbers, including coronavirus variants — such as the more contagious B.1.1.7 strain that has helped fuel another surge in Michigan. Pandemic fatigue and more Americans moving around have also likely contributed to the rise.
The worrying surge in cases isn’t unique to the US. The World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday that the global number of new infections has been rising for eight weeks. More than 5.2 million cases were reported last week — the highest weekly figure so far. The number of deaths has also increased for the fifth straight week, surpassing 3 million over the weekend.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q. Should I be disinfecting surfaces to prevent Covid-19?
Vincent Hill, chief of the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said the risk of transmission from touching a surface, while small, is elevated indoors. Outdoors, the sun and other factors can destroy viruses, Hill said in a telephone briefing. The virus dies “rapidly” on porous surfaces but can persist longer on hard, indoor surfaces.
Research also suggested that surface transmission was more likely in the first 24 hours after a person is infected, and that households where one person had Covid-19 did have lower transmission rates when surfaces were cleaned and disinfected.
So while keeping surfaces clean is not a waste of time, it’s not the only way or even the most important way to reduce risks, the CDC said. The agency has updated its guidance for disinfecting surfaces in community settings and Hill added that cleaning should be focused on high-contact areas such as doorknobs and light switches.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
India will offer Covid-19 vaccines to all adults in May
It is unclear whether the world’s second most populous country, with nearly 1.4 billion people, has enough vaccines to meet this expanded demand. Currently, only healthcare workers, frontline workers or people 45 years and older are eligible to be vaccinated in India, and vaccine supplies have already dried up in some places, with at least five states reporting severe shortages.
Germany’s Chancellor must beat the pandemic to save her legacy. Time is running out
Why many in Colombia’s migrant community want to skip the vaccine
Most of the 2 million Venezuelans living in Colombia arrived in recent years after fleeing the economic crisis in their home country. They are not fully integrated within Colombian society, which can make keeping track and getting in touch with them for programs like the vaccine rollout difficult.
ON OUR RADAR
- Johnson & Johnson said blood clots have been reported with all Covid-19 vaccines — but the author of the study they cited says they’re wrong.
- The Biden administration will allocate $150 million from the American Rescue Plan to boost Covid response in underserved and vulnerable areas.
- Greece has lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers and those testing negative for Covid-19 coming from Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- A two-way travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand opened Monday. But Australia says it’s in “no hurry” to unlock borders to other visitors.
- Seven otters at Georgia Aquarium have tested positive for coronavirus after showing “mild respiratory symptoms including sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and coughing.” Despite being geriatric, they are improving and expected to make a full recovery, the aquarium said.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
As more people get Covid-19 vaccines, you may be wondering whether hearing live music in person again is safe.
“On every level, this is unprecedented. The packaging of 1,170 doses, the dry ice, the ultra-cold storage, the mixing with the diluent, the three different vaccine regimens with different days apart.” — Claire Hannan, Association of Immunization Managers