A U.S. Army soldier with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division immunizes Jacklina Mendez with the COVID-19 vaccine on March 9, 2021 on the north campus of Miami Dade College in North Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
Even if the pace of vaccination accelerates in the US, cases of Covid-19 are increasing in 21 states and highly infectious variants spread as governors relax restrictions on businesses like restaurants, bars and gyms.
Public health officials warn that while about 2.5 million people receive shots daily across the country, infection rates have risen this month and some states have not reduced the number of daily cases.
According to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University, the 7-day moving average of new infections on Friday was 54,666 after falling for weeks.
More than 541,000 people in the United States have died from the disease.
The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned during a briefing on Friday that the country should not declare victory until the infection level is “much, much lower”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has also urged states not to reopen too quickly and undermine the country’s progress against the pandemic.
Knyckolas Davis (L) and Matthew Bettencourt celebrate Davis ’35. Birthday with friends at Rizzo’s Bar & Inn in Wrigleyville as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions ease on March 6, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Eileen T. Meslar | Reuters
“The concern is that there are a number of states, cities, and regions across the country that are withdrawing some of the mitigation methods we talked about: withdrawing mask mandates, withdrawing to essentially non-mandate measures in the area of public health are implemented, “said Fauci at the briefing.
“So it’s unfortunate but not surprising to me that the number of cases per day is increasing in areas – cities, states or regions – even though vaccines are being distributed at a pretty good amount of 2 to 3 million per day,” Fauci added added. “That could be overcome if certain areas prematurely withdraw the containment and public health measures we are all talking about.”
Infections are increasing in the following states: Alabama; Connecticut; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Dakota; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Virginia; Washington; and West Virginia.
The highly contagious variant, first identified in the UK, is likely to account for up to 30% of Covid infections among US health officials. The variant could become dominant by the end of this month or early April.
The variant is seen as the cause of the third coronavirus wave in Europe. Several countries, including France and Italy, have put in place new lockdown measures to reduce the spread of viruses when cases increase.