Scientists would predict another rise in infections, as states relax public health restrictions and reluctant Americans return to school and work. But they hope the vaccinations will dull any potential fourth flare-up.
Tuesday, President Biden increased her vaccination two-week schedule, calling on states to make every American adult eligible for the coronavirus vaccination by April 19, a goal nearly all states have already met or expect to meet after it initially gave them asked to do so by May 1st.
“It is in our power to minimize death, disease and misery,” White House pandemic adviser Andy Slavitt said Wednesday. “If we all do our part, we can help save lives in April, May and June. Wear a mask. Social distance. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. “
In February, a study that analyzed half a million coronavirus tests and hundreds of genomes have predicted that within a month this variant could become predominant in the United States. At that time, the CDC was struggling to sequence the new variants, making it difficult to keep track of them.
But these efforts have significantly improved over the past few weeks and will continue to grow, in large part because of the $ 1.75 billion in genomic sequencing funding in the stimulus package President Biden enacted last month. In contrast, Britain, with a more centralized healthcare system, launched a much-touted sequencing program last year that allowed it to track the spread of variant B.1.1.7.
“We knew it was going to happen, this variant is much more transmissible, much more infectious than the parent strain and that obviously has implications,” said Dr Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine and infectious disease expert at the University. Emory. . Besides spreading more efficiently, he said, the B.1.1.7 strain appears to cause more serious disease, “which gives you a double whammy.”
The White House also announced an expansion of its vaccination program at community health centers, bringing the total to nearly 1,400 community centers across the country where people can get vaccinated. Mr Slavitt said most of these community centers are located in underserved neighborhoods with many uninsured patients. Last week, Mr. Biden promised that 90 percent of adults in the country would have a vaccination site within five miles of their homes.
Eileen Sullivan contributed reporting.