The number of fully-vaccinated Americans against COVID-19 is now at 200 million by Wednesday despite a disheartening spike in cases and hospitalization that is happening within the holiday season. This spike has even affected the New England region, which is known to be one of the most highly inoculated areas of the U.S.
The number of new cases in the country went from an almost-95,000 daily average on Nov. 22 to an almost-119,000 daily average this week. Additionally, the number of people being hospitalized due to the virus went up by 25% compared to last month. The surge in cases was mostly caused by the delta variant. Although, the omicron variant has also been found in around 20 states and it will surely spread even more.
The death tally is coming close to a 1,600 daily average, which is around the same level that they were back in October. Overall, the country’s death toll might hit 800,000 in a few days.
Surge in COVID Causes Attributed to Holiday Gatherings and Travel, Among Other Reasons
The situation this year is actually not as bad as the surge that happened in last year’s holiday season. That was before the people could get the COVID-19 vaccine. Around 60% of the U.S. population are fully vaccinated, but this has not been enough to ease up the surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in COVID-19 hotspots.
Many believe that the cold weather, gatherings during the holiday, and a rebound in holiday travel played a role in the increase in daily COVID-19 rates. Of course, the public’s weariness about pandemic-related restrictions adds to the situation.
According to Lawrence Gostin, the director of Georgetown University’s WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights, the virus is similar to a wildfire.
He said: “You can clear a forest of the shrubbery. But if you leave some shrubs and trees standing, the fire will find them. The virus will find you. It is searching for hosts that are not immune. The fact that you live in New England or New York doesn’t insulate you.”
After it was approved that adults could get vaccine boosters and that elementary school children could get the shots, the demand for the vaccine has seen an increase amid the case surge and the omicron variant’s emergence. Pfizer said on Wednesday that the first two shots of its vaccine seem to be significantly less effective against the new variant, but getting a booster could offer significant protection.
Almost 48 million people in the U.S. have gotten a booster shot, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, White House officials said that the country administered around 12.5 million jabs last week, which is the highest weekly total since May.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House coronavirus adviser, said, “And that’s critical progress as we head into the winter and confront the new omicron variant.”