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Is the launch of a vaccine enough to end the U.S. epidemic? : Shock

About a third of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after months of a joint push to strengthen the nation’s immunity.

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About a third of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after months of a joint push to strengthen the nation’s immunity.

David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 100 million Americans are fully vaccinated and people infected with the novel coronavirus are the lowest since October. Will the vaccination campaign finally win a race against the coronavirus in the United States?

That’s the big question the country is waiting to answer. While some researchers say it’s too early to know for sure, more and more epidemiologists, infectious disease researchers and public health experts think the country may be at or about to reach – a tipping point. important

“I think we have reached a turning point,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. “We have changed the angle of this latest wave and I think the worst day of this outbreak is behind us.”

Jha and others came to the conclusion on a number of factors. First of all, about 34% of the US population has some immunity to the virus from being exposed to the virus.

Second – and most importantly – vaccination campaigns have already vaccinated large numbers of people. Currently, more than 43% of the population has received at least one vaccination and a third of them are fully vaccinated. That is so close that other countries, such as Israel, are starting to turn around and experience a sharp decline in infections.

Combination of natural immunity from those who have been exposed and vaccinated. “It means we may have an immunity close to 60% of the population,” Jha said. “That’s why I’m pretty sure we have turned around.”

And in fact, the number of people infected every day in the United States is falling again after months of slow increase. Over the past two weeks, the average number of new infections dropped 27%.

“I think we have reached a turning point,” said Dr. David Rubin, PolicyLab director of the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. “We are seeing a significant and substantial decline at the moment, and we hope it deepens in the coming weeks.”

Now, not everyone is optimistic. The infection eventually subsided in Michigan. But the virus continues to spread rapidly there and elsewhere, such as Oregon, Washington, parts of Colorado and Arizona. And many experts worry that people will be discharged too quickly.

“Time will tell,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in an email to NPR. “A Michigan-like outbreak is likely until we become more immune.”

“There has been a fourth increase, whether the reduction is already unknown,” he added. “It doesn’t feel that bad because it’s much smaller than the third one, it’s a little bigger than the second one, and it’s probably not over yet.”

Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, was also cautious. “I think we are approaching a turning point. But I want to see the case drop for a few more weeks before I can say we’re there, ”she said.

But others are increasingly convinced that the country has met the long-awaited threshold of vaccination.

“The results of vaccination are truly astonishing in terms of the value of bringing us back to normal and freeing us from this pandemic,” Rubin said.

The vaccine appears to be able to protect against threats posed by a wide variety of strains, including the B.1.1.7 variant, the first highly contagious strain in the UK that is now dominant in the United States.

“We have built a barrier that prevents variability, particularly in the United Kingdom, from the United Kingdom and other countries from spreading and increasing,” said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine. At Scripps Research

The optimism also comes from several mathematical models of outbreaks that attempt to factor the spread of the species, the degree of vaccination and the number of people following public health recommendations such as: Wear a mask and social aloof

“The models for all states show that if states are not in decline, they should begin to see reductions in a few weeks,” said Dean Carlane of the University of Victoria in Canada, who modeled the impact of the state. Variables in each US state “And hopefully we’ll start to see a faster and faster decline assuming that vaccination rates continue.”

All of the above, the country is not totally in danger. The number of people infected on a daily basis remains high. And there are worrisome prospects, especially the sharp decline in recent vaccinations.

“We are starting to try to vaccinate people who are slightly hesitant or have difficulty accessing or having difficulty accessing the vaccine,” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Need to reach those people “

Additionally, vaccination rates vary across the country. The big concern is places where there aren’t enough people to roll up their sleeves, such as some southern states like Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

“If you remember back last spring, many southern states thought they had escaped COVID-19 and it was starting to heat up people into the air-conditioners. That was the perfect storm for the COVID-19 epidemic. -19 US southern states last summer, ”said Dr. Meghan Ranney, assistant dean of Brown University.

“I’m concerned because it’s the same state where the number of our vaccines is low, and therefore gives them another chance of having COVID-19 infections,” Ranney said.

Therefore, even those who are convinced that the country as a whole, acknowledges that a metropolitan area, state or region with low levels of vaccination may experience outbreaks throughout the spring and summer.

And many are predicting another surge in the fall if too few people were vaccinated at the time and people retreated into their homes due to the colder weather.

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