We are now well into year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, which officially began on March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the viral outbreak a global event. It’s also been well over a year since the WHO announced on January 5, 2020, that there was a mysterious virus emerging in Wuhan, China. Since then, more than half a million Americans have died from the virus. Although we understand far more about SARS-CoV-2 now, there’s still a lot left for us to figure out.
Though a fair amount of us are experiencing pandemic fatigue and a handful of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 are in use, it’s still crucial that we maintain our awareness of the severity of this crisis, especially in light of the variant strains circulating the country. Here’s an overview of the essential stats and figures:
Current US vaccination numbers
The daily average number of vaccine doses administered has accelerated to 3.21 million per day over the last week. 36.8 percent of the US population has received at least one dose, up from 32.4 percent a week ago, and 22.7 percent have gotten both vaccine doses (for the two-dose regimens) or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, an almost four-point increase from last week. 79.2 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have received at least one dose and 62.5 percent of the same group are fully vaccinated.
All told, about 122.3 million Americans have received one dose of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and more than 75 million have received two such doses or the single Jonhson & Johnson dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These are the top five states for percentage of population with at least one dose:
- New Hampshire at 52 percent
- New Mexico at 45 percent
- Connecticut at 44 percent
- Massachusetts at 44 percent
- Maine at 43 percent
Every state has now passed the 10 percent threshold for full vaccination, with New Mexico leading the way at 30 percent and Georgia bringing up the rear at 15 percent.
Latest US case counts
Despite this increase in vaccination, the country is still experiencing a significant number of new COVID-19 cases. The United States has now reported more than 31 million cases in total, and 61,526 were reported just in the last day. In the first two months of the year, the country saw a steady downturn in new cases, a marked decline from our third—and by far largest—national peak so far.
However, this decline has lost its momentum in the past five weeks and is now back on the upswing: Average new daily cases have increased by about 9 percent over the past 14 days. A fourth wave could be in our future, and those that haven’t been vaccinated yet—the vast majority of which are younger people—are at a higher risk of being affected by this most recent wave. It’s crucial that we maintain the precautions that produced the decline—namely social distancing and mask wearing, along with getting vaccinated when you can.
Case counts around the world
Going by total case counts, the current top 10 countries for COVID-19 are:
But what these countries generally have in common is large populations. The list of total cases per 100,000 people tells a very different story (not counting countries with fewer than 100,000 people):
- Czech Republic
The US is the only country on both lists, which is a testament to how poorly we’ve handled the pandemic, especially early on. Every other nation with a lot of case counts generally has it by virtue of having a large population.
Spots to keep an eye on
Over the winter months, most US states experienced their largest wave of cases since the pandemic began a year ago. While cases, deaths, and hospitalizations nationwide remain far below the peaks reached in January, outbreaks on the East Coast and in the Midwest have health officials concerned about another resurgence. New cases are trending upward again in these states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- (Washington, D.C.)
Michigan in particular has seen a massive resurgence in cases over the past month, with new daily cases skyrocketing to 10,669 from 1,000 cases per day six weeks ago. Local health officials point to the rapid spread of the B.1.1.7 variant originally identified in Britain, aided by the relaxation of mask-wearing and social distancing before enough of the state’s population is vaccinated.
Current hospitalization rates and death tolls
At least 562,007 Americans have now died from COVID-19. Deaths are down 27 percent in the 14-day period.
The daily number of new cases remains high and numbers are climbing again in several states. While vaccines offer a light at the end of the tunnel, they aren’t an immediate or quick fix. It takes weeks for vaccines to start to be able to bring down case counts. For acute spikes in cases, the best thing you can do is go back to the basics of social distancing and mask wearing. COVID-19 is essentially everywhere at this point. With Michigan as an example of the danger of new variants, it’s just as important now as it was at the start of the pandemic to remain vigilant.