The United States is heading into the holiday of working with Covid vaccines, but a much worse fire than in 2020

People lined up for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in a mobile test van in New York City on August 27, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The U.S. is heading toward Labor Day with just over four times as many cases of Covid-19 and more than twice as many hospitalizations as at this time last year – despite having vaccinated 62% of the population. American population with at least one dose.

The United States and the world are nowhere near where health officials hoped, and thought, we would be 20 months into the pandemic – and more than eight months after vaccines boasting effectiveness rates around 95% were shot .

Although the fire is significantly worse for most measures than 2020, preparing the U.S. for a harsh fall season, the delta variant, vaccines and open schools make it difficult to predict how the pandemic will develop, they say. doctors and scientists.

“There is a lot more uncertainty now. The dynamic interaction between the variants and the vaccine and in particular unvaccinated people, and the type of game changer of the delta variant leads to a lot of uncertainty in terms of what the fall holds.” , said Dr. Barbara Taylor, assistant dean and infectious disease specialist at the University of Texas Science Center in San Antonio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised unvaccinated Americans not to travel during the holiday weekend, worried that the holidays could start another flurry in homes.

By Labor Day 2020, the U.S. was down from a summer growth in which average daily homes peaked at around 67,000 per day in July to an average of just over 41,000 new homes per day the week before. of Labor Day, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show. This week’s new homes have climbed to their highest point since January, averaging 166,000 per day over the past seven days.

However, new cases are growing at a substantially slower pace than in recent weeks, and many scientists predict that they will soon begin to decline. New homes rose 7% last week, nearly a third from the seven-day jump of 26% just three weeks ago, according to the data.

“It’s true that cases, hospitalizations and deaths are at higher levels than they were on the last day of work, especially for most southern states,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization on National and Global Health Law. “This was very surprising because we now have highly effective vaccines.”

However, the effectiveness of the three vaccines eliminated for use in the United States – Pfizer, Modern and Johnson & Johnson – has plummeted since they were first introduced. Scientists have discovered that protection decreases over time. The highly contagious delta variant is also a game changer. It spreads more easily and quickly than other variants, according to the CDC, infecting both unvaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The viral load in the nasal cavity is so high, estimated at 1000 times that of other strains, that scientists in Australia say they have traced a case where a man contracted it with only 5 to 10 seconds of exposure. A small proportion of fully vaccinated people taking Covid, even an asymptomatic case, are just as likely to spread it as unvaccinated people, officials have warned. The delta variant now accounts for 99% of all new sequenced cases in the United States

“The delta variant, as we’ve seen with the evolution of Covid-19 over the last year and a half, continues to launch there curves, and I think the best advice is to be prudent and careful,” he said. Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin, a community pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic, said in an interview.

The good news is that the delta appears to have its course in the United States, lacking new people to become infected while vaccination rates rise and others gain natural immunity after recovering from the virus, doctors and scientists say.

New hospital admissions have finally started to turn around after weeks of steady growth, with the average seven-day daily admissions down 1.7% last week, CDC data show. However, more than 100,000 Americans are currently hospitalized, compared to about 41,000 during the same week a year ago, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, in line with levels seen at the end of January this year. year.

The big question is: How long does immunity last? Studies show that vaccines begin to decline in effectiveness about two months after the second shot and then actually decrease in protection five to eight months after full vaccination, U.S. officials say.

“We may see periodic waves of this until there is sufficient protection at the community level, and hopefully it will come through vaccination rather than recovery from natural infections,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, doctor of infectious diseases. at the University of Toronto. “I know we all want the pandemic to be over, but it’s not. We’re closer to the end in countries with access to vaccination, but it’s not over.”

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