(CNN) — The United States is on track to vaccinate half of all adults against COVID-19 by the weekend with at least one dose, according to a White House adviser, but that doesn’t mean the country is done with the pandemic. .
“We have to remember that there are more than 100 million adults who have not yet been vaccinated,” White House senior adviser for covid-19 response Andy Slavitt told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday. “We’re not there yet, and you don’t win the war until you have everyone with you.”
President Joe Biden has set a goal for every state to open the vaccination of all adults by April 19, a task that is becoming easier as the supply and accessibility of vaccines increases, Slavitt said.
But despite the improvements, the US has a long way to go before it achieves herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated that for this, 70-85% of the population needs to become immune. And the pace of vaccinating as many adults who want it varies widely between states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
While states like New York and North Dakota could vaccinate all willing adults in June, some states could take until the end of 2021. And in a race against the spread variants and increased fatigue of COVID-19, the experts say it is imperative to vaccinate Americans quickly.
Some states are lifting masks mandates and expanding the capacity allowed in businesses. But Fauci said Tuesday that withdrawing preventive measures while most Americans are not yet vaccinated is a mistake.
“It is premature to declare a victory,” Fauci said. “We have to continue and endure a little more by continuing with public health measures.”
Fortunately, the United States has the tools to stay the course even if the public is fatigued, Slavitt said. Expanding access to vaccines and targeting vulnerable groups, as the US did by giving 80% of teachers and school staff at least one dose amid calls for schools to reopen, can help the nation to continue fighting COVID-19, Slavitt said.
Although health experts warn that the battle against COVID-19 is not yet won, many states have already reopened and others plan to do so soon.
California, the first state to implement lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fully reopen activities and businesses beginning June 15, state officials said Tuesday. The state’s mask-wearing mandate will remain in effect at least for the short term, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
Falling infection rates, low hospitalizations and rising vaccinations are reasons California may reopen, said state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly.
On Tuesday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott presented a 90-day reopening plan until July 4. On that date, the state plans for the covid-19 mandates to become guidelines.
By then, Vermont officials anticipate that approximately 70% of the state’s residents will have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Many school districts are also preparing to change their plans. Of the 101 largest school districts in the country, more than half offer a comprehensive classroom education option, although the distance learning option is still available to families who choose it.
This occurs when just over half of parents, 52%, said they are likely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 when a vaccine is available for their age group, according to the results of a new survey from Axios. -Ipsos published on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the daily rate of new cases has been on the rise over the past four weeks as highly communicable variants such as B.1,1.7. they have spread, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week.
In the past week, five states accounted for about 44% of new COVID-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
There were about 453,000 new cases in the country in the last seven days. New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported nearly 198,000 of those cases.
Michigan had the highest per capita rate and leads the country in terms of new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins. Along with Michigan, Minnesota is also reporting one of the highest numbers of new cases in the country, yet both states have high levels of vaccination, said the director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Michael Osterholm.
The problem, he said, is that while the states are getting vaccinated quickly, not enough people have yet been vaccinated to overcome the spread. And with the increase in transmissible variants, Osterholm said he is concerned that a similar problem could occur more widely.
“I wish we had another 3-4 months before this rise in the variable of B.1,1.7 started to happen,” Osterholm said.
What will life be like after vaccination
Experts and officials are debating how to monitor vaccination once life in the US returns to normal.
Many experts have asked for vaccine passports, a vaccination status document that could allow Americans more access to public settings and large gatherings.
New York launched the “Excelsior Pass” last month, the first state to do so, which gives residents access to events like sports and concerts.
And in California, some companies are already exploring the option of verifying that their customers are vaccinated.
But in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday that prohibits organizations that receive public funds from requiring proof of vaccination to provide services or allow entry, according to a statement from his office.
“The government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private medical information just to go about their daily life,” Abbott said. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health, and we will do so without trampling on the personal freedoms of Texans.”
In addition to debates over vaccination documents, the US will also have to deal with “prolonged Covid,” a condition in which even patients with relatively mild illnesses could suffer symptoms long after infection, Osterholm said.
Up to one in three people infected with COVID-19 have longer-term neurological or mental health symptoms, according to a study published Tuesday in the Lancet Psychiatry.
“I’m afraid it’s going to be one of the inherited problems from this pandemic,” Osterholm said.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips, Ashley Ahn, Jennifer Henderson, Michael Nedelman, Cheri Mossburg, Ryan Prior, Lauren del Valle, and Elizabeth Stuart contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism