WASHINGTON – The expansion of new variants of the coronavirus, especially the British one, and the relaxation of measures are increasing infections in the United States, especially in areas such as Michigan, despite the fact that the vaccination campaign has accelerated.
In a month, the US has gone from having daily increases in infections of less than 60,000 to registering figures above 70,000.
Specifically this Saturday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University, the country had added 79,991 new cases compared to Friday.
According to statistics, at least 13 states are experiencing an average daily increase in cases of at least 10%, based on data from Friday, indicating that the fight against the pandemic is still far from over.
In Michigan the cases are multiplying
Michigan is the state that is experiencing the highest daily increases in infections in recent weeks. Only this Saturday had added 9,850 new cases compared to Friday; followed by Florida, with 7,296; New York, with 6,399; Pennsylvania, with 5,536; and New Jersey, with 4,340.
Although Michigan is in the lead with the highest number of daily infections, it has a total of 867,624 since the beginning of the health crisis, still far from the figures of California, which continues to be the state with the most infections (more than 3.7 million ), Texas (2.8 million), Florida (2.1 million), New York (1.9 million) and Illinois (1.2 million).
Still, the rise in daily cases has put Michigan hospitals on the brink of collapse, with covid admissions at their highest since the start of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, three health centers in that state were at 100% capacity, while at least 35 were about to be, The Detroit News reported.
Michigan’s largest hospital network, Beaumont Health, issued a statement describing the situation as “troublesome and alarming,” noting that the number of admissions grew from 128 on February 28 to more than 800 on Thursday.
Variants of the virus and pandemic fatigue
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week blamed the spike in infections on the spread of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and pandemic fatigue, as many citizens are abandoning public health protocols and there are more mobility.
Despite this outlook, Whitmer is resisting tougher restrictions than it has already imposed and is confident that vaccinations will help contain this wave.
Whitmer was the target last year of numerous criticisms from conservatives, supporters of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) and the former president himself for imposing at the beginning of the pandemic the closure of commercial activity and prohibiting agglomerations in his state to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
The situation was so tense that at the beginning of last October the FBI announced the arrest of several people linked to a far-right militia accused of planning the kidnapping and possible murder of the governor.
According to the prosecution, the defendants belonged to the Wolverine Watchman militia and had the intention of instigating a civil war in the country.
Despite its reluctance to impose tougher measures, Michigan on Friday extended restrictions in force by a month, such as the requirement to wear a mask, the limitation of capacity in most businesses and that restaurants only take 50% of diners.
In addition, he has asked that children wear a face mask from the age of two.
Republicans have celebrated that Whitmer has not decided more limitations, but from the federal government the health authorities are warning that the only way for Michigan to end the worst outbreak in the country today is with more restrictions.
On Friday, the Executive warned that infections and deaths from coronavirus had accelerated in recent days, especially in the Midwest, due, on the one hand, to the greater threat posed by the new variants, especially the British one, but also to the relaxation of measures in some areas.
The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, In this sense, he explained that the British variant already accounts for 44% of the registered cases.
Vaccinating at full speed
Meanwhile, the immunization campaign continues in the country, where 82,471,151 people have already been fully vaccinated, that is, 24.8% of the population.
There are currently three vaccines that have received authorization for emergency use in the US, those from Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses, and the one from Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which is single-dose.
However, authorities this week recommended a pause in the administration of J & J’s serum after the detection of six cases of cerebral thrombosis in women under 48 years of age, of which one has died.
This recommendation will be in force for at least one more week, until next Friday a committee of independent experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decide on the future of that vaccine.
The US is the nation in the world most affected by the pandemic, with more than 31.59 million cases and more than 566,500 deaths, indicate data from the Johns Hopkins University.