(CNN) — More than a million passengers have traveled through U.S. airports daily for at least 10 days in a row, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), at a time when Experts say that cases of a dangerous variant are increasing across the country.
On Friday alone, the country registered more than 1.4 million passengers at airports across the country, which is a record during the pandemic.
«What we are doing is essentially spreading variant B.1,1.7 across the country, ”Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN on Sunday.
The spread of variants, combined with the still small percentage of fully vaccinated Americans, is why experts have emphasized that state leaders should not lift restrictions against COVID-19 for now, and Americans should double security measures to prevent another wave of the virus.
But while at least a dozen governors have eased restrictions this month and cases in the U.S. are no longer experiencing the steep declines seen earlier this year, one expert says the country is unlikely to see another rally in covid-19.
That’s because the number of past infections and vaccines in the United States have begun to form “enough backing” to prevent another spike, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. CBS’s “Face the Nation” show on Sunday.
‘I think what you could see is a plateau for a period of time before we continue on a downward decline, largely because B.1,1.7 is becoming more prevalent, largely because we are going back too fast, regarding taking off our masks and lifting mitigation, ”he said.
Other experts have said that the plateau of cases reported by the United States could serve as a predictor of another surge. Emergency Physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN last week that she believes the United States could be on the cusp of another rebound.
Others say that it is difficult to predict what will happen.
“It’s very difficult to say,” Hotez told CNN. “We are in a race, that’s what it all comes down to. We have administered a single dose (of the covid-19 vaccine) to about a quarter of the population of the United States … and anything could happen right now.
“That is why it is very important that governors stay the course and implement the use of masks and social distancing,” he added.
Vacationers worry authorities
Some travelers have landed in popular spring break destinations like Florida, where local officials say vacationers are more than they can handle.
Saturday, the mayor of Miami BeachDan Gelber declared a state of emergency and established a curfew, telling CNN that too many people were arriving “without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is a little more than we can bear.
Florida is the state in the country that has reported the highest number of cases of variant B.1,1.7 so far, which according to experts is highly contagious and potentially more deadly, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“I wish people at least wore a mask,” emergency physician Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN on Sunday, referring to the crowd on spring break. “I anticipate that very few of those young adults will have been vaccinated and seeing them gather in that crowd, even outdoors, makes me afraid that they are going to bring that B.1,1.7 variant back to its original state and spread it.”
Other experts have voiced the same concern, warning that all returning vacationers could help fuel surges in covid-19 in other parts of the country, especially now that vaccination numbers remain so low.
The CDC currently continues to advise Americans not to travel. And earlier this month, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that every time travel increases, there tends to be an increase in infections, citing July 4, Labor Day and the seasonal winter holidays.
“We are very concerned about the transmissible variants. Many of them have been through our travel corridors, so we are being more cautious right now with travel, “Walensky had told CNN.
Vaccine hesitation is ‘worrisome’, says governor
So far, more than 81.4 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. That’s roughly 24.5% of the US population.
More than 44 million, about 13.3% of the population, have been fully vaccinated, the data shows.
While the number continues to rise and leaders across the country employ more methods to accelerate vaccination, such as opening more mass vaccination centers and expanding eligibility requirements, challenges still lie in how to get the country to acquire the vaccine. herd immunity.
Those challenges include vaccinations and political divisions. A recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows that while 92% of Democrats say they have received a dose of the vaccine or plan to receive one, that figure drops to 50% among Republicans.
When asked why he believed there was skepticism among Republicans, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told CNN that he thought it was “natural resistance to and skepticism of the government.”
“The hesitation is worrying not only here, but throughout the country, and I hope that as a country we will reach 50% of the vaccination rate of the population. But we are going to have a harder time going from 50% to 70%. And it’s about overcoming skepticism, it’s about education… but also about trust, ”he said.
As more Americans see others receiving the vaccine, the governor said he expects the acceptance rate of vaccines to increase.
In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson said late last week that while he encourages everyone to get vaccinated, “there will still be a certain number of people who will not get vaccinated and they have every right to do so.”
“We have to do a better job of making sure everyone understands the importance of the vaccine and yet maintain respect for people who don’t want to get vaccinated, and it will be challenging to see how many people we can get vaccinated, but we will do everything What we can”.
New facts about the AstraZeneca vaccine
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is expected to apply for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the US in the coming weeks.
The vaccine was 79% effective against symptomatic diseases and 100% effective against serious illnesses and hospitalizations in a new US-based clinical trial, the company said Monday.
The findings from the new phase 3 trial, which included more than 32,000 participants, could boost confidence in the vaccine, which was originally developed by the University of Oxford.
Many European countries halted its application due to concerns about a small number of blood clots, going against the advice of international medical agencies, as the continent faces a third wave of infections fueled by variants of the virus.
The trial showed that the vaccine was well tolerated and did not identify any safety concerns, the company said. An independent committee “found no increased risk of thrombosis or events characterized by thrombosis among the 21,583 participants who received at least one dose of the vaccine,” according to AstraZeneca.
The new data comes from a phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the US, Chile, and Peru. AstraZeneca says it plans to submit the findings to a scientific journal for peer review.
CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Niamh Kennedy, Carma Hassan, Deanna Hackney, and Lauren Mascarenhas contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism