Five states account for 43% of new coronavirus cases last week

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey recorded more than 196,400 of the 453,360 cases reported in the country last week, according to data available Wednesday morning.

These states account for only 22% of the US population, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau.

B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, is now the most prevalent strain of coronavirus in the US, Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

“Based on our most recent estimates of CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage in circulation in the United States,” Walensky said during the team’s briefing. Covid-19 intervention from the White House.

With the addition of more transmissible variants, outbreaks like those in Michigan may soon be seen more widely, even as vaccination rates have increased nationwide, said epidemiologist Dr Michael Osterholm.

“I wish we had another three or four months before this B.1.1.7 variant push started to happen,” Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said Tuesday.

The daily rate of new coronavirus cases in the country has increased over most of the past four weeks. Part of this is due to the spread of B.1.1.7 and other variants of concern, Walensky said earlier this week.
The United States has recorded an average of more than 64,760 new cases of coronavirus per day over the past week – a little less than the week before, but still about 21% more than two weeks ago, and more than 12% more than four weeks ago, according to Johns Hopkins.

The surge in variants in some states like Michigan should prompt the federal government to consider changing the way it allocates vaccines, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health, told CNN on Wednesday.

“In some states … the number of cases is actually declining – California is one of them. Other states, like Michigan, are actually doing a great job on immunization, but they’re having a huge push, ”Jha said.

“So the federal strategy must be to move more vaccines to places like Michigan that are booming so they can use more vaccines to stop this surge and save lives,” he said.

The CDC says more than 16,200 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been confirmed in surveillance testing in the United States and that B.1.1.7 has been found in every state. This number does not represent the total number of such cases circulating in the United States, but only those that were discovered by analyzing samples.

CDC Director: Decreasing number of daily deaths may be ‘an impact of vaccination’

While cases have recently risen or peaked, the number of daily deaths from Covid-19 has declined.

The United States has recorded an average of 774 Covid-19 deaths per day over the past week, down 22% from the previous week’s average, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

This is even lower since the first day of March, when the average was around 2,000 deaths per day.

At Wednesday’s briefing, Walensky attributed the declining numbers to vaccinations.

“I am really encouraged by this decrease in the number of deaths which I believe is an impact of immunization, especially immunization of our elderly communities,” Walensky said.

But, she added, the current case count is “far too high to think we’ve won this race.”

According to latest CDC data, 19.4% of the total US population was fully vaccinated Wednesday morning; and 57.4% of people aged 65 and over are fully immunized.

Half of American adults may have had their first injection on weekends, White House says

By the end of the weekend, the United States will approach nearly half of all adults having their first vaccine for Covid-19, a White House official said.

But vaccine advances don’t mean the country is done with the pandemic, a Biden administration adviser said on Tuesday.

“We have to remember that there are over 100 million adults who still have not been vaccinated,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor on the response to Covid-19, told Chris Cuomo of CNN. “They aren’t here yet, and you don’t win the war until you bring everyone with you.”

As of early Wednesday, the United States had more than 109.4 million people aged 18 and over with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. This is about 42.4% of adults in the United States and an increase of 0.7 percentage point over the past day, according to CDC data.
President Joe Biden has set a goal for each state to open vaccination to all adults who want it by April 19. This task becomes easier as the supply and accessibility of vaccines increases, Slavitt said.
Biden Extends Deadline for All U.S. Adults to Be Eligible for Covid Vaccine to April 19
But the United States still has a long way to go before achieve collective immunity. Dr Anthony Fauci estimated that 70% to 85% of the population needs to become immune. And the vaccination rate of all adult volunteers varies widely from state to state, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
While states such as New York and North Dakota could vaccinate all consenting adults by June, it could take some states until the end of 2021. And in a race against both the spread of worrisome variants and the increase in Covid-19 fatigue, experts say it is imperative to vaccinate Americans quickly.

Some states are withdrawing hidden mandates and opening up capacity for companies. But Fauci said on Tuesday that giving up preventative measures when the majority of Americans are still unvaccinated is a mistake.

“It is premature to declare a victory,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We have to keep going and hang on a little longer by continuing the public health measures.”

The United States always has the tools to stay the course even if the public is tired, Slavitt said. Opening up accessibility to vaccines and focusing on certain groups, as the US has done to give at least one injection to 80% of teachers and school staff amid calls to reopen the school, can help the country continue to fight Covid-19, Slavitt said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story and the title of the story overestimated the percentage of American adults who will be vaccinated by the end of the weekend. The White House clarified that the United States would approach having nearly half of all adults with their first coronavirus vaccine by this weekend.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Lauren Mascarenhas, Betsy Klein, Ashley Ahn, Kaitlan Collins, Jennifer Henderson, Michael Nedelman, Cheri Mossburg, Ryan Prior and Lauren del Valle contributed to this report.

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