CategoryUSA

There’s growing confidence that the worst of COVID-19 is behind California

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California’s battle against coronavirus has progressed so rapidly in the last few months that many experts are optimistic the state has experienced the worst of the pandemic and that another disastrous wave is unlikely as vaccinations increase and case rates keep plunging.

If those forecasts hold fast, California will enter the summer in a better place than many thought. State officials hope to have the economy largely reopened by June 15. And while coronavirus variants caused concerns earlier this year, officials and experts say they have generally been less aggressive than feared and vaccines seem to be offering protection against the various variants.

“I am optimistic,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “I think that we are going in the right direction — we will never have a surge like we had during the viral tsunami of the post-holiday season, just because now we have so many people vaccinated, and so many people have got natural immunity from having had the disease.”

On Monday, officials said Los Angeles County could reach “herd immunity” from the coronavirus by mid- to late July. Herd immunity, sometimes referred to as community immunity, occurs when enough people have been inoculated or have obtained natural immunity to protect the larger population against the virus.

With about 400,000 shots administered weekly, the county has about 2 million first doses to go before 80% of all residents 16 and older will have received at least one shot, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news briefing.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-11/vaccines-boost-california-confidence-for-covid-19-recovery

New Jersey, one of the hardest hit states last year, is seeing cases decline significantly

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New coronavirus cases have fallen drastically in New Jersey, where at times this spring the virus was spreading faster than anywhere else in the United States.

Over the past two weeks, the state has seen its average number of new daily cases drop by 61 percent, according to a New York Times database.

New Jersey’s case numbers are dropping along with the rest of the country’s. But the state’s decline is the steepest in the United States and its rate of new daily cases per person is now just above the national average.

“Clearly vaccinations are playing a role in this,” said Dr. Edward Lifshitz, medical director of the New Jersey Department of Health Communicable Disease Service.

Behind New Jersey is neighboring New York, with a 48 percent decline, and Michigan, which despite a 41 percent drop still has the highest rate of new cases in the country. In Puerto Rico, cases are also down 61 percent.

“The good news is now becoming almost overwhelming, and that’s a good thing,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy said in public remarks on Thursday.

Mr. Murphy has cited the state’s rising vaccination rates as the cause of the reopening. As of Friday morning, more than 3.4 million New Jersey residents had been vaccinated, according to state health data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/nyregion/nj-covid-cases.html

Average daily U.S. Covid cases fall below 40,000 for the first time since September

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The rate of new Covid cases in the U.S. fell to an average of 38,800 per day Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the first time daily case counts have been below 40,000 since September.

Federal data found the country is averaging 2.1 million daily reported vaccinations over the past week, down 37% from its peak level but showing signs of steadying in recent days.

The U.S. is reporting 38,800 daily new infections, based on a seven-day average of data compiled by Hopkins, down 22% from a week ago and 46% from the most recent high, when the country was seeing about 71,000 daily cases in mid-April.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/covid-19-cases-deaths-vaccinations-daily-update.html

New U.S. COVID weekly cases fall to lowest since September

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New cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell for a fourth week in a row, dropping 17% last week to just under 290,000, the lowest weekly total since September, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

Deaths from COVID-19 fell 1.3% to 4,756 in the week ended May 9, the fewest deaths in a week since July. (Graphic with state-by-state details)

More than a third of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, and 46% has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lowest rates of infection based on population were in Oklahoma, California and Mississippi.

The average number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals fell 9%, the second weekly drop in a row.

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/new-us-covid-weekly-cases-fall-lowest-since-september-2021-05-10/

U.S. turning corner on pandemic, says White House COVID coordinator

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The United States is closer to getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and health officials are focused on the next challenge: getting more Americans vaccinated, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Sunday.

“I would say we are turning the corner,” Zients said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Zients said about 58% of American adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. The task now is to continue building confidence in vaccines and get enough Americans vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, he said.

U.S. health officials are aiming to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of 70% of American adults having at least one shot by the July 4 U.S. Independence Day.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said another surge in coronavirus infections would be unlikely if the Biden goal is met or exceeded.

“The larger proportion of the population that’s vaccinated, the less likelihood that in a season like the coming fall or winter you’re going to see a significant surge,” Fauci said on NBC’ “Meet the Press.”

“That’s the reason why vaccinations are so important. That’s the wild card that we have now that we didn’t have last fall or the last winter.”

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-turning-corner-coronavirus-pandemic-white-houses-zients-2021-05-09/

California ‘weeks away’ from reaching herd immunity, UCSF doctors say

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California could reach herd immunity by June 15, according to projections by doctors at UCSF.

“I am predicting that Gov. Newsom was actually right,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician with UCSF. “June 15th is when we’re going to be done…get to herd immunity.”

June 15 is about six weeks away. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans last month to fully reopen the economy on that date.

https://abc7.com/society/ca-weeks-away-from-reaching-herd-immunity-ucsf-doctors-say/10586281/

More than 70% of Americans at least 65 years old now fully inoculated as U.S. Covid cases

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More than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Wednesday.

CDC data shows an average of 2.1 million reported vaccinations per day over the past week, down from a peak of 3.4 million in mid-April.

At the same time, the rate of new infections fell further. About 46,600 new cases are being reported each day in the U.S., based on a seven-day average of Johns Hopkins University data, the lowest level since the fall.

Among seniors, one of the most vulnerable groups and to whom vaccine eligibility opened earliest, those figures are much higher. 83% are at least partially vaccinated and more than 70% are fully vaccinated.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by July 4. As of Wednesday, about 57% of adults have done so.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/06/covid-19-cases-deaths-vaccinations-daily-update.html

Tweaked Moderna vaccine ‘neutralises Covid variants in trials’

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The first “tweaked” vaccine against the worrying coronavirus variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil has successfully neutralised them in laboratory trials, the US company Moderna has said.

The results of the small trial suggest that boosters against the variants will be feasible and could be rolled out this year to counter the threat from variants that have appeared around the world and are feared in some cases to be more transmissible or partially vaccine-resistant.

Leading companies have been racing to produce adapted versions of their Covid vaccines. Pfizer/BioNTech, which has a similar mRNA vaccine to Moderna’s, and Oxford/AstraZeneca are also in the process of developing tweaked vaccines against the South African variant, B1351, and the Brazilian variant, P1, which appear to be the major threat to current immunisation programmes.

Moderna became the first to announce results on Wednesday night. They appear to be very positive, although only basic information from an initial analysis of results is available so far.

The US company has tested both a booster shot of its standard Covid vaccine and also a tweaked version of the vaccine in people who have previously had the full double dose. Twenty adults were recruited for each arm of the trial, or 40 in total.

Two weeks after the new jab, Moderna says both the booster shot and the tweaked vaccine increased the antibodies in the blood that can neutralise the two variants of concern.

But the tweaked vaccine – called mRNA-1273.351 and designed specifically to combat the South African and Brazilian variants, which have similar mutations to the spike protein – produced higher levels of neutralising antibodies than the standard booster shot, mRNA-1273.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/05/tweaked-moderna-vaccine-neutralises-covid-variants-in-trials

Biden Sets New Goal: At Least 70% Of Adults Given 1 Vaccine Dose By July 4

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President Biden on Tuesday announced a new goal to administer at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July.

The administration also plans to see 160 million adults fully vaccinated by then, a push to improve the level of immunity in the country to the point where the coronavirus has less of an opportunity to spread and so that more public health restrictions can be lifted, administration officials told reporters.

As of Monday, more than 246 million vaccine doses have been administered across the United States. More than 56% of the adult population has received at least one dose, while 40% of adults have gotten two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The July Fourth goal will mean about 100 million shots during the next 60 days – a slowdown from the earlier vaccination pace, recognizing that those most eager to get the shot have already done so, administration officials said.

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/04/993537622/biden-sets-new-goal-for-at-least-70-of-adults-to-be-vaccinated-by-july-4

One Third of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated as COVID Positivity Drops to New 6-Month Low

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Vaccinations are up and new COVID-19 infections down across the Empire State – key metrics for the state’s leaders eager to push New York to a complete reopening in the coming months.

More than one out of every three New Yorkers has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday. That number has steadily increased with the rise in vaccine supply and opening of statewide eligibility to everyone 16 and older. As of Sunday, 34.9 percent of New Yorkers had completed their vaccine series.

The number of people to get at least one shot is creeping up on a milestone marker as well, with nearly half the state to get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the governor’s weekend numbers, some 46.5 percent of New Yorkers had received at least one dose.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/one-third-of-new-yorkers-fully-vaccinated-as-covid-positivity-drops-to-new-6-month-low/3032009/