And the country has averaged more than 49,400 new cases of Covid-19 daily in the past week, according to John Hopkins. On January 8, the country averaged more than 251,000 cases each day – the highest seven-day pandemic average.
“We’re starting to see the effects of all these vaccinations,” Dr. Ashish Ja, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, told CNN on Monday.
Especially, he added, among the country̵
“This pandemic is really among young people now and it is a very dangerous time to be unvaccinated in the country because it is spreading quite effectively among young people and unvaccinated people,” Ja said.
So it is crucial that younger Americans get shot, experts say, both for their own defense and for helping the country reach widespread protection.
Governor: Young Oregons hospitalized with a “heavy” Covid-19
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown recently tightened some restrictions amid rising new cases and hospitalizations.
The US can handle this “long time”
More than 44% of the total US population has received at least one dose of vaccine and almost 32% have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Among adults in the United States, more than 56% received at least one shot, the data show, and more than 40.5% were fully vaccinated.
Once the United States manages to vaccinate more than 70% of its adults, we will finally be able to see a semblance of normalcy, Ja said on Monday.
“Case numbers will drop. We may not be in a herd of immunity, we will see small outbreaks here and there, but life will really start to return to normal,” he said.
But what if we don’t get there?
“It’s a problem,” Ja said. “We will stay for a long time to deal with this.”
“If we just don’t get vaccinated, then obviously one of the things we know is that we get big outbreaks, you can get more options,” he said. “It will be difficult to do these big gatherings, indoor concerts, outdoor baseball games, these things will become much, much more difficult if we don’t make more progress on vaccinations,” he added.
What is likely to happen, one expert said, is that communities with lower vaccination coverage will continue to see high transmission of the virus, while in other parts of the country with more vaccinations, the incidence will be much lower.
“There’s a real division in this country around vaccination,” former CDC director Dr. Richard Besser told CNN. “People tend to live among people with similar beliefs.”
An important solution may come next week
The only puzzle that experts say is missing is to transplant children.
But there is good news from this front.
Pfizer is applying for an emergency use permit. The FDA, which is currently reviewing data provided by Pfizer, will need to amend the emergency vaccine authorization, but the process needs to be clear, the official said.
A group of CDC advisers will schedule a meeting for any FDA decision to expand the EUA to new age groups and will advise the CDC whether to recommend the use of the vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.
Walensky will then have to decide whether the agency will recommend the use of the vaccine in the new age group.
“This will immediately add millions more people who qualify for vaccination. I bet many of these children will be vaccinated,” Ja told CNN. “It will also make a big difference in terms of building the population’s immunity.”
Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children under 6 months of age and expect to ask the FDA for an EUA covering babies and children later this year.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.