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Experts are concerned that states in the south of the country, where vaccination rates are lagging, could see a spike in coronavirus cases in the summer.
A dozen states – many in the northeast, including Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut – have already met the target of at least 70 percent of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine – a goal that President Biden has set for the country by July. 4. But in the South, this marker is not visible for several states.
In 15 states, including Arkansas, Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana, about half of adults or fewer received a dose, according to data New York Times analysis… In two states, Alabama and Mississippi, it will take about a year to get one dose to 70 percent of the population at current rates of distribution.
Public health experts and officials in states with lower vaccination rates say the president’s benchmark will help reduce cases and deaths, but this is somewhat arbitrary – even if 70 percent of adults are vaccinated, the virus and its more infectious options can spread to those who do not.
But they remain concerned that their residents are more susceptible to infection as Reduced restrictions across the countryThe sense of urgency for vaccinations is diminishing, and many Americans in warmer climates avoid the heat by heading indoors where the virus spreads more efficiently.
If there is a summer surge in the South, experts believe it won’t be as severe as last summer because at least some people are vaccinated and treatment has improved. But memories of a past summer, when the number of cases increased rapidly after some southern states rushed to resume work, are still fresh. Young people who are less likely to be vaccinated will be most vulnerable during any spike this summer, said Dr. Edward Trapido, an epidemiologist and associate dean for research at Louisiana State University’s School of Public Health. While death or serious illness is not so common. young people with Covid-19“It’s still possible,” he said.
“It is unlikely that the surge will result in hospitals going into hiding and causing a lot of deaths,” said Dr. Trapido. “There are certain populations that are under-vaccinated, and this is where we expect growth.”
To avoid the summer surge, states in the South must catch up with those in the Northeast that have already received at least one dose for 70 percent of their population, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine.
“It’s just that we haven’t even come close to that in the southern states,” said Dr. Hotez. He said he foresees a new wave in the South because “we are so lagging behind in vaccinations.”
For example, in Mississippi lowest vaccination rate in the countryand 34 percent of the population received at least one injection. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said Sunday that despite the low number of vaccinations, the number of cases indicated a low risk of contracting Covid-19 in his state.
Another concern is testing. But Dr. Trapido said cutbacks in testing will make it harder to contain outbreaks ahead of a potential summer surge.
Nationwide, the number of daily tests has dropped significantly. About 316,000 tests were run on Thursday, well below the winter peak when more than two million tests were conducted on some days, according to the data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
“We don’t have many people rushing to get tested because all the messages are about the vaccine,” said Dr. Trapido. “It’s important to remind people to get tested if you’re concerned.”
In mid-May, Dr. Joseph Kanter, a senior Louisiana health official, said that even promising state numbers could obscure local concerns. Louisiana has less than 20 percent of residents some parishes received the first dose.
“We have a significant percentage of initiates in Louisiana, but this is not the case. collective immunity, “ Dr. Kanter said, referring to the proportion of the entire population that needs to acquire resistance to the virus to slow transmission. “Far from it.”
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