Daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States are now about a fifth of what they were during its winter peaks, and one expert says the country’s improved numbers have a lot to do with vaccinations on the rise.

The weekly average of daily deaths from covid-19 is more than 660, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In mid-January, that seven-day average was about 3,400 deaths a day.

And the country has averaged more than 49,400 new COVID-19 cases a day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. On January 8, the country averaged more than 251,000 cases per day, the highest seven-day average of the pandemic.

“We are beginning to see the effects of all these vaccines,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, told Citizen Free Press on Monday.

Especially, he added, among the elderly population of the country, which was prioritized from the beginning for vaccines.

Nearly 83% of Americans 65 and older have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine and nearly 70% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ).

And now state and health leaders are targeting younger Americans, who, according to polls, are less likely to say they want a vaccine.

“This pandemic now is really among the youth and it is a very dangerous time to not be vaccinated in the country because it is spreading quite efficiently among the youth and the unvaccinated,” Jha said.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned last month that the country was seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, predominantly among unvaccinated young adults. And in Michigan, which battled a violent spring surge, hospitals treated COVID-19 patients younger than ever.

So it’s critical that younger Americans also get a vaccine, experts say, both for their own protection and to help the country achieve widespread protection.

Governor: Oregon youth hospitalized with ‘severe’ covid-19

To help boost vaccination numbers and suppress the spread of the coronavirus, governors are now appealing to younger residents.

In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown recently tightened some restrictions amid a spike in new cases and hospitalizations.

“Younger, unvaccinated Oregonians are now turning up in our hospitals with severe COVID-19 cases,” Brown said in a statement. “We need Oregonians to step up and take personal responsibility for getting vaccinated.”

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said last week that the state is offering a $ 100 savings bond to residents ages 16 to 35 who choose to get vaccinated.

On Monday, he added that officials are now also focusing on “new communication strategies to really reach our younger people through social media and streaming services.”

“If we have to go door to door, we will go door to door,” Justice said in a statement. “We know that these vaccines are incredibly safe and we know what can happen to those who are exposed and what is happening on this earth.”

The US could be dealing with this for ‘a long time’

Is there a risk of spreading the virus after being vaccinated? 1:05

The U.S. vaccination rate has slowed, and experts say the country is now at the difficult part of its vaccination efforts: reaching Americans who aren’t as eager to get a vaccine or are still struggling. access.

More than 44% of the total US population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 32% are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Among American adults, more than 56% have received at least one vaccine, the data shows, and more than 40.5% are fully vaccinated.

Once the US can vaccinate more than 70% of its adults, we can finally see a semblance of normalcy, Jha said Monday.

«The number of cases will plummet. We may not have herd immunity, we will see small outbreaks here and there, but life will begin to return to normal, “he said.

But what if we don’t get there?

“That’s a problem,” Jha said. We’re going to have to deal with this for a long time.

“If we just don’t vaccinate, then obviously one of the things we know is that we will have big outbreaks, have more variants,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to do those big meetings, indoor concerts, outdoor baseball games, these things will become much, much, more difficult if we do not advance more in vaccinations,” he added.

What could likely happen, one expert said, is that communities that have lower vaccination coverage will continue to experience high transmission of the virus, while in other parts of the country with more vaccination, case rates will be much lower.

“In this country, there is a real divide around vaccination,” former CDC Acting Director Dr. Richard Besser told Citizen Free Press. “People tend to live among people with similar beliefs.”

A major clearance could arrive next week

The only piece of the puzzle that experts say is missing is vaccinating children.

But there is good news on that front.

A federal government official told Citizen Free Press that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ready to authorize the Pfizer / BioNTech covid-19 vaccine in children and adolescents ages 12-15 early next week.

Pfizer has applied for an emergency use authorization. The FDA, which is currently reviewing the data submitted by Pfizer, will have to modify the vaccine’s emergency use authorization, but the process should be straightforward, the official said.

A group of CDC advisers will schedule a meeting after any FDA decision to extend the EUA to new age groups and will advise the CDC on whether to recommend the use of the vaccine in children 12-15 years of age.

Walensky will then have to decide whether the agency will recommend the use of the vaccine in the new age group.

“That will immediately add millions more eligible for vaccination. I bet a lot of those kids will get vaccinated, ”Jha told Citizen Free Press. “That will also make a big difference in terms of strengthening the immunity of the population.”

Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children at least 6 months of age and hope to apply to the FDA for an emergency use authorization covering infants and children later this year.

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