Newly reported cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. have dropped to some of the lowest levels since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Scientists are now reporting a link between vaccinations and transmission.
A recent analysis has shown that U.S. states who have at least 50% of their residents fully vaccinated tend to have lower-than-average numbers of new cases. Contrarily, states with lower numbers of fully vaccinated residents are experiencing higher average case rates.
Over the past week, the U.S. has recorded approximately 25 new cases per 100,000 people. The average case rate was 24% lower in states that have over 50% of their residents fully vaccinated. Medical professionals are beginning to see a clearer link between vaccination numbers and transmission rates.
“Anyone who’s unvaccinated right now is at very, very high risk,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. His concerns are growing further due to the Delta variant’s growing prominence in the U.S. He believes now is the time to push vaccination rates further in order to avoid another wave in the coming months.
However, some states are experiencing more “random” outbreaks that cannot be explained by vaccination rates. For example, Washington reported one of the top ten highest case rates in the past week, even though half of its residents are fully vaccinated. “The potential for outbreaks is larger in places that are less vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean they happen at a predictable time,” said William Hanage, a member of Harvard University’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.
“We tend to be in contact with people who have similar vaccination status as ourselves, so unvaccinated people are more likely to connect with other unvaccinated people, but there will be occasional outbreaks even in relatively well-vaccinated communities,” he said. Experts believe that continued surveillance and improved vaccination rates are crucial right now.
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