For the first time since early March, the 7-day average of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US fell below 2 million a day, according to data from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released on Saturday. On Sunday, the seven-day average was back over 2 million a day.
With the demand for vaccines slowing, the outlook for the pandemic in America remains optimistic. Around 58% of adults in the US – and nearly 46% of the total population in the country – have now received at least one dose, according to CDC data. The data shows that more than 34% of the US population is fully vaccinated. This is the fastest and largest mass vaccination in world history.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, recently estimated that around 70-85% of people need to be immune for the country to achieve “total blanket”. But he also said that “more and more people are being vaccinated – you will reach a point … where you will find the number of cases decreasing dramatically.”
That point could come soon, Fauci implied on Sunday, saying that he believes it is time to reconsider interior mask mandates. “We have to become more liberal when more people are vaccinated,” he said.
While the thought of a mask-free future might be incentive enough for some to get the shot, other states and corporations are taking concrete (and creative) steps to get holdouts on board and are offering a range of vaccine bonuses, of course Cash to hard cash Super Bowl tickets for those ready to roll up their sleeves.
But beyond these benefits are the main incentives of the Covid-19 vaccines, which have greatly reduced cases, hospital stays and deaths – and taken us a first step towards life as we once knew it.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Is it still required to wear masks in the United States?
A: The short answer is yes – for now. Dr. CNN’s Sanjay Gupta says it’s worth remembering why masks were recommended in the first place: To greatly reduce the amount of virus, an asymptomatic carrier could get airborne.
With coronavirus falling and the number of Americans vaccinated, the CDC has updated its guidance so that if you are fully vaccinated, you can now be exposed at small outdoor gatherings or eating out with friends in multiple households. But unvaccinated people should still wear a mask at such gatherings, with guidance that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should still wear masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts, parades, and sporting events. The same instructions apply to all indoor public spaces.
There are two main reasons to justify this continued caution. With virus transmission still high in about 35% of the US states – which is home to nearly 42% of the population – officials fear that large gatherings could, statistically, still be spreader events. The vaccines do not offer 100% protection and so-called breakthrough cases have been documented. Another problem is that most settings do not require proof of vaccination. Unless systems are in place to identify individuals with natural or vaccine-acquired immunity, or enough of the country has been vaccinated, the CDC will likely continue to recommend indoor masking.
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY?
The Medical Journal condemns the Indian government for “squandering” the early Covid-19 success
The Indian government’s response to the second wave of Covid-19 in the country is “inexcusable” according to a scathing editorial in The Lancet. The prestigious medical journal lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in the May 8 article, saying it ignored warnings of a second surge, encouraged complacency and was not transparent about Covid-19 data.
India is currently in the middle of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreak. On Monday, 366,161 more cases were reported, bringing a total of more than 22 million infections reported. The death toll is the third highest in the world at 246,116. India could reach 1 million deaths by August, according to estimates by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
“If that outcome were to happen, the Modi administration would be responsible for managing a self-inflicted national disaster,” warned the Lancet editorial.
These working mothers did everything. Then came the pandemic.
It’s been a tough year for mothers. The brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit these warriors hard. Many have lost their jobs, postponed their dreams, or struggled to juggle an insurmountable list of daily tasks. According to the National Women’s Law Center, between February 2020 and February 2021, more than 2.3 million women in the United States left the workforce, bringing the female employment rate down to 57% – a level last seen in 1988.
Women’s jobs and careers were much more affected than men in the pandemic, leading some like C. Nicole Mason, Executive Director and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Political Research, to label the downturn as a “cession”.
On Mother’s second day of the pandemic, CNN spoke to five women who felt they could do anything. Today their reality has changed. “I just want to be okay. I don’t even want to be great now,” said one woman. “I just want to be okay, I want to feel okay.” Discover their stories here.
Covid-19 patients in India were infected with a “black fungus”.
The Government of India reported that cases of a fungal infection called mucormycosis, a condition commonly found in people with diabetes or those with suppressed immune systems, have been detected in Covid-19 patients.
The infection “most commonly affects the sinuses or lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air,” with some severe cases looking like blisters or ulcers, or even turning the skin black, according to CDC.
Dr. VK Paul, a member of the Indian government-run think tank Niti Aayog, said Friday that the outbreak was “not large” and that the situation would be assessed and monitored. Paul explained that there are two elements to consider: “One, that we are using drugs that suppress the immune system … [and] Also, when oxygen is given to a Covid patient there is a humidifier that contains water and the tendency to get a fungal infection increases. ”
ON OUR RADAR
- The World Health Organization approved the Chinese emergency vaccine Sinopharm Covid-19 on Friday, paving the way for purchase by COVAX, the initiative to ensure fair global access to Covid-19 vaccines.
- As the coronavirus crisis in India has marginalized the country’s healthcare system, the Indian diaspora in the United States is helping with Indian-American doctors providing medical advice to friends and family over phone and video calls.
- Kelly and Kimberly Standard are identical twins. But the 35-year-old American sisters’ experiences with the coronavirus were far from identical, which begs the question: Why do some people get so sick and others don’t?
- At least six private hospitals in the Nepalese capital have stopped accepting Covid-19 patients due to a lack of oxygen supply just days after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the country’s coronavirus situation was under control.
- The Japanese Prime Minister has said it is up to the International Olympic Committee to decide whether or not the Tokyo Olympics will be held on July 23.
- Across Spain, people celebrated until the wee hours of the Sunday morning, celebrating the end of a 11 p.m. curfew that was lifted at 1 p.m. in 13 of the country’s 17 regions.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Know your variants.
The CDC has defined three levels of variation. There are interesting variants that may be dangerous but have not yet caused major disruptions. Contagious variants, which are more contagious, will elude some treatment, cause more severe illness, or pass diagnostic tests; and high-consequence variants that significantly elude the effects of vaccines or treatments.
This week the CDC said it has designated a strain of coronavirus, first considered a “variant of interest” in India, as a “growing variant” and adding it to the growing collection it is keeping an eye on.
Confused about the difference between the B.1.526 and the P.1? We’ve got you covered here.