US COVID-19 Numbers Remain Stable – At Less-than-Desirable Rates

US COVID-19 Numbers Remain Stable – At Less-than-Desirable Rates

Key Points:

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the current status of COVID-19 and our weekly Risk Matrix findings. Read more below.
  • As we look at vaccine hesitancy Experts are thinking, more and more, that herd immunity to COVID-19 will not be possible and we need to begin to plan around that possibility.
  • New York Times has an interactive breakdown about the safety of flying. One big takeaway: “How air flows in planes is not the only part of the safety equation […] The potential for exposure may be just as high, if not higher, when people are in the terminal, sitting in airport restaurants and bars or going through the security line. Going to in-terminal restaurants, for example, can be risky because masks are routinely removed and kept off to eat.”
  • The WHO warns that COVID-19 deaths are accelerating (the fifth straight week in a row); we are hitting world records on cases with 5.2M recorded just last week. We’ve now seen cases rise for eight consecutive weeks.
  • Due to the rise in cases, globally, the U.S. State department will begin to issue travel warnings for other countries; up to 80% of countries (reported by BBC).
  • A focus group conducted with American Republicans finds that vaccine-resistance and vaccine skepticism is worsening in those within the GOP.
  • Despite the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s strong protection against COVID-19, Nature has released a press release about what scientists do and don’t know about the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Science News discusses what we know about the B117 COVID-19 variant that is currently dominant in the U.S. The big takeaway, B117 is likely 40 to 70% more transmissible than the other variants.

Recommendations for Industry

US COVID-19 Numbers Remain Stable – At Less-than-Desirable Rates

The COVID-19 rates are staying fairly stable in the U.S., but they are still higher than is desirable, particularly nearly a year and a half later. We are seeing some suppression of case rates, which we would attribute, at least in part, to the vaccinations. With vaccinations now available for all adults across the U.S., TAG continues to recommend that businesses encourage employees to be vaccinated – while, of course, continuing to require masking, distancing, handwashing, and staying home when ill.

Risk Matrix

  • The Government Stringency Index is 38 this week. This is down from 39 last week, indicating a decrease in government stringencies.
  • 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.

Table 1.

Figure 1.

Table 2.

Table 3.

  • 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 (Table 4).
  • 13 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 12 last week. These states are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Minnesota, Colorado, Delaware, New York, Maine, Illinois, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island (Table 4)

Table 4.

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