After nine straight weeks of decline in new coronavirus cases, the United States recorded a 5% increase in new infections across the country last week, according to a Reuters news agency survey based on data from the Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases. (CDC).
Recorded as the country progresses rapidly on its vaccination campaign – Joe Biden’s government hit its goal of delivering 100 million vaccines on Friday (19), 41 days ahead of the deadline it promised in its campaign – the growth could be linked to the circulation of new, more heritable variants and relaxation of restrictions.
According to the survey, 30 of the 50 states saw a spike in new infections in the past week, compared to the previous seven days.
“I am afraid that if we do not take the right steps now, we will have another increase as we are seeing in Europe,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday.
The states with some of the highest infection rates are New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, with 313, 271 and 239 new cases per 100,000 people, respectively, last week.
The governors of the three states have decreed, in recent weeks, a gradual relaxation of the restriction measures, although they have maintained the compulsory use of the mask.
In New York, for example, restaurants are already operating at 50% capacity in indoor spaces, but they must close until 11 p.m., along with bars.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has lifted restrictions in so-called “yellow zones,” areas where the state has placed tighter restrictions on restaurants and other businesses due to worrying data on the coronavirus.
The Democrat also announced last week that starting April 5, the state will end the 11 p.m. curfew on casinos, cinemas, bowling alleys, pool halls and gymnasiums.
When the governor authorized the reopening of statewide gyms in September, he said local authorities would have the power to oppose the return – as did Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York.
Last month, a group of gym owners sued De Blasio and Cuomo. As of Monday, city gymnastics classes will have a 33% capacity limit, as well as state gymnasiums, and customers will be required to wear a mask during exercises.
In absolute numbers, Alabama, Montana and Michigan lead the rankings, with a 102%, 54% and 50% increase in the number of new infections, in that order.
Earlier this month, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey broke with other Southern State Republican Party governors by extending the use of masks for an additional month – but she said l The requirement, which ends on April 9, should not be extended.
The change came a day after President Joe Biden criticized the governors of Texas and Mississippi for deciding to withdraw the mandatory use of facial protection.
Still, Ivey relaxed some measures. Since then, restaurants can accommodate more than eight people at the same table. The ordinance also allowed seniors to resume outdoor activities and hospitals to increase the number of visitors patients can receive from one to two.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced even greater easing earlier this month. Restaurants can already operate with a limit of one hundred people, and entertainment spaces can accommodate up to 300 people. Casinos and gyms can also open at 30% capacity.
On February 10, just over a month after taking office, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte kept a campaign pledge and signed an executive order that suspended the mandatory use of masks in the state – local authorities can still maintain the requirement.
The chief medical officer, Gregory Holzman, resigned a day after the measure, although he did not say in his resignation letter that his departure was linked to the change.
The Republican governor’s rationale was that those at risk had already started receiving the vaccine – so far the state has applied at least one dose to 284,000 people, which equates to 32.9% of the eligible population, aged 16 or over.
Mask use was instituted in July by Gianforte’s predecessor, Democrat Steve Bullock, initially only in counties with at least four active Covid-19 cases. The measure was extended in November to cover the entire state, as the number of cases and hospitalizations increased.
The Republican also lifted the 50% capacity limit for establishments and even allowed restaurants, bars and casinos to operate after 10 p.m., vetoing other restrictions imposed during the Democrat’s tenure. We are a family business.
Deaths from Covid-19 fell 15% across the country last week, reaching the threshold of 7,793 victims, but some states have also moved in the opposite direction of national figures.
Once again, Montana saw a 100% increase in the number of deaths from the virus, with 22 victims in total. First, Kentucky with 756 new deaths, which equates to a growth of 363% – the state still maintains the mandatory use of masks and establishments such as restaurants, bars, cinemas and beauty salons can operate at 60% of their capacity.
Health officials hope the country’s vaccination effort can prevent a rise in deaths, even if cases rise again.
For the fourth week, the daily immunization average set a record, with 2.5 million doses administered per day last week.
According to CDC data on Monday, so far 82.7 million people have received at least one dose of the immunizer and 43.9 million are fully vaccinated – because they received both applications of the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna or single dose of Johnson And Johnson vaccine.
The average number of Covid-19 patients in U.S. hospitals fell 6% to 36,000, the lowest since October, according to the Reuters tally. Although hospitalizations have fallen for ten straight weeks across the country, they rose in 18 states last week, up from four states the week before.
The United States still occupies the first place on the list of countries with the highest number of infected and killed by Covid-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 29.8 million confirmed cases and nearly 542,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Since President Joe Biden took office on January 20, the country has seen a sharp drop in the moving average of deaths.
Last week, the Democrat spent about 20 minutes in prime time on U.S. television in his first nationwide televised speech to promise to clear the queue of priority groups and expand the vaccination campaign to all adults from May 1.