Two-thirds U.S. Showing High COVID-19 Transmission Rates
- In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss this week’s risk matrix data and the significantly increasing transmission rates, with 33 states now seeing rates above 1.0. Read more below.
- The FDA has released information on the impact of a few COVID-19 tests by SARS-CoV-2 variants. TAG will discuss this more today. There are 4 tests that the FDA has noted as potentially being impacted by the variants.
- Biden is imploring with the U.S. that it is imperative that those living in the U.S. take the virus more seriously as COVID-19 cases climb in 30 states. In fact, the U.S. is following a similar pattern to Europe; the daily cases and hospitalizations “are up nearly 18% over the previous 2 weeks”.
- New clinical data released by Pfizer-BioNTech has found that their COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective with children aged 12 – 15 years old.
- As more individuals are becoming vaccinated and people are considering storing their vaccination cards for the longer term, before laminating your card, you should:
- Make sure card information is accurate
- Ask where vaccination records are being kept
- Photograph both sides of your vaccination card and email the photos to yourself
- Make a paper photocopy of both sides of your card
- Don’t laminate before you get all your doses!
- A study by the World Economic Forum indicates that it could take 36 years to close the gender gap as gender parity has been set by an entire generation by COVID [Aljazeera / CNN]
- (97 COVID infections have been reported in fully vaccinated individuals in Idaho, which represents 0.5% of Idahoans that have been fully vaccinated. The infections occurred with almost a 50/50 split between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (53% Pfizer, 47% Moderna). Johnson and Johnson vaccine use began in Idaho less than two weeks ago, so there is no data available for individuals fully vaccinated using that vaccine since none of the recipients are considered fully vaccinated at this time.).
Recommendations for Industry
Two-thirds U.S. Showing High COVID-19 Transmission Rates
Last week we relayed the fact that COVID-19 transmission rates, which had flattened at the beginning of the year, had begun to gradually increase in March. With this week’s matrix data, we are now seeing that significantly increasing with 33 states now seeing transmission rates above 1.0 (indicating that infected persons are transmitting COVID to multiple others).
# of states
This is occurring despite the fact that more people are being vaccinated each day. Some reasons we see as potentially causing this are:
- A recent CDC study on vaccinated healthcare workers found that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 80% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections but efficacy increases to 90% and immunity appears to be more durable when both doses are taken. However the study was conducted between December 14, 2020 and March 13, 2021 – prior to the variant increase in the U.S. … and as shown in the FDA study (noted above in Key Points), current COVID-19 tests are not picking up all the variant mutations, so there are likely to be some false negatives.
- In both the U.S. and many countries around the globe, activity, travel, and movement in general are increasing, potentially leading to higher transmission rates – particularly from pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic persons.
- Even with the increasing vaccinations, there is still a high percentage of the population that is not vaccinated, and the variants are continuing to make their way across the nation.
- Globally it is even worse with numbers going up fast in LATAM and parts of Europe and Asia.
Because of this:
- Masking, social distancing, and all other COVID protections continue to be recommended.
- Additionally, it is highly recommended that the test results not be considered in isolation, but that symptoms be considered as well. If someone is ill – whether it be COVID, flu, or other illness, they should stay home. As we’ve said in the past – if in doubt, stay out.
Backing off on requirements will likely require a combination of high vaccination rates and low case rates – but nobody has made a clear statement at the federal or state levels on what that looks like.
- The Government Stringency Index is 41 this week. It is the same as last week, indicating stability in government stringencies. Five (5) states’ (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oregon) businesses are in mixed opening stages.
- In Figure 1, this week, we compare the case rate/100K (Table 1) in the population to the percentage of a state’s population that has been vaccinated (with first and second doses) (Figure 1). Table 2 and 3 compare last week and this week’s percentage of states’ populations that have received their first and second vaccinations, respectively.
- Michigan is the only state with a TPR ≥10% and a case rate ≥ 25/100K people, indicating that testing may not be adequate to fully characterize the true severity of the outbreak in the state.
- 8 states have a TPR < 10% and a case rate≥ 25/100K people, indicating that adequate testing is likely finding most symptomatic cases of illnesses. This is up from 6 last week. These states are Connecticut (TPR: 4%, 34.1 cases/100K); Massachusetts (TPR: 2%, 30.8 cases/100K); New Jersey (TPR: 9%, 49.5 cases/100K); Rhode Island (TPR: 2%, 36.9 cases/100K); Pennsylvania (TPR: 8%, 28.2 cases/100K); New York (TPR: 6%, 39.4 cases/100K); Delaware (TPR: 4%, 29.8 cases/100K); and New Hampshire (TPR: 4%, 26.1 cases/100K).
In Case You Missed It
- The joint WHO-China study on COVID-19 origins has found, in a recent report, “that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is ‘extremely unlikely.’”
- New York has launched their Excelsior Pass app to help New York businesses return to normal “by providing a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results.” Furthermore: “Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for entry. Along with your Pass, you’ll be asked to show a photo ID that shows your name and birth date to verify that the Pass belongs to you. Adults may hold passes for accompanying minors.”
- A recent CDC study on vaccinated health-care workers found that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 80% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections (after the first dose).