While the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 remains plateaued at alarming levels, the U.S.’s vaccination effort has so far been successful, according to President Joe Biden, who touted that his goal of administering 100 million shots was met “weeks ahead of schedule.”
Biden’s goal was to reach that target in the first 100 days, after his inauguration Jan. 20.
“I’m proud to announce that tomorrow [Friday], 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans,” Biden said in a speech Thursday afternoon, as MarketWatch’s Victor Reklaitis reported.
In fact, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the U.S. reached that goal last week, and the latest count is up to 118,313,818, while the number of doses delivered has climbed to 154,199,235.
The number of people who have received at least one dose grew to 77,230,061, or 23.3% of the total population, while the number of people fully vaccinated increased to 41,934,629, or 12.6% of the population.
In comparison, the percentage of the population fully vaccinated in Spain is just above 4%, is below 4% in Italy, Germany and France, and is below 3% in the U.K., according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
But as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, has said, the good news on vaccinations comes as worries over a potential fourth surge in COVID-19 cases increases. He has expressed concern that daily case counts have plateaued at a high level, and appears to be inching back up, at a time that states are lifting restrictions and Europe has reinitiated lockdown measures as cases surge. Read previous Coronavirus Update columns.
The number of new cases in the U.S. rose to at least 60,782 on Thursday, according to a New York Times tracker, from 58,856 on Wednesday, and to the highest total in six days. The death toll rose to at least 1,549 from 1,177 on Wednesday, the highest count in five days.
The average daily count of cases over the past week was 54,729, down 13% from the average two weeks earlier.
But there is concern that case counts could increase further in the near term, as there were 17 states showing a rising trend of cases in the past week, up from 13 states last week, according to JHU data.
And that’s why, even as the U.S. vaccination effort has exceeded expectations, there’s no reason to call off the hunt for effective COVID-19 treatments, as MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee reported.
“A lot of people have the impression that vaccination is going to solve the problem,” said Dr. John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, as Lee reported. “But just look at influenza. We know that every year there are people who are breakthrough infections, and that is if they had the vaccine.”
There are currently three vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization in U.S., two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc. MRNA,
AstraZeneca PLC’s AZN UK:AZN also has a COVID-19 vaccine, but it has not been OK’d for use in the U.S., although the U.S. also has an agreement to receive a total of 700,000 doses of the company’s COVID-19 antibody-based cocktail.
Use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been suspended by a number of countries in Europe, even though the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have deemed it safe.
The global total of the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 rose to 122,063,523 as of Friday afternoon, according to JHU data, while the death toll reached 2,695,511.
The U.S. was by far the world leader, as it accounted for 24.3% of the global case count with 29,699,099 cases, and the U.S. death toll of 540,430 made up 20.0% of the world’s total.
More than 69 million people around the world have recovered from COVID, the data show.
Brazil has the second highest death toll at 287,499 and is second by cases at 11,780,820. India is third worldwide in cases with 11,514,331 and is fourth in deaths at 159,370.
Mexico has the third highest death toll at 196,606 but is 13th in cases at 2,182,188.
The U.K. is fifth globally with 4,299,199 cases, just behind Russia at 4,388,268, while the U.K. has the world’s fifth highest, and Europe’s top death toll at 126,263. Italy is six in deaths at 104,241 and seventh in cases at 3,332,418, while Russia is seventh in deaths at 92,704.
China, where the virus was first discovered last year, has had 101,494 confirmed cases and 4,839 deaths, according to its official numbers.