are projected to die of the virus over the next three and a half months, according to the latest model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
briefing accompanying its model.
seasonality — the pattern of lower transmission that’s likely in the US during the spring and summer months.
“Two factors, however, can slow or even reverse the declines that have begun,” the IHME team said.
spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the UK and experts warned could become the dominant strain in the US by spring. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 980 cases of the variant have so far been detected across 37 states.
The second factor, according to the IHME team, is “increased behaviors that favor COVID-19 transmission.”
said. “As daily case counts decline and vaccination increases, behaviors are likely to change towards increased risk of transmission.”
loosen Covid-19 restrictions.
On Friday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state rolled back Covid-19 restrictions on youth sports, allowing parents or guardians of young athletes to attend. On the same day, Maine’s governor issued an executive order expanding gathering limits for houses of worship.
with capacity limits — resumed in New York City ahead of the Valentine’s Day holiday, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
announcing Friday he was extending bar and restaurant closing times to 11 p.m. statewide.
‘One step closer to winning the war’
Despite lingering concerns, officials are hopeful the continued ramping up of vaccinations is beginning to shift the pandemic’s course in a positive direction.
shows. About 13 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.
The IHME expects 145 million adults to be vaccinated by June 1, it said in a statement, which would prevent 114,000 deaths.
“Our vaccine supply is going up, the positivity rate is going down and we’re getting one step closer to winning the war against COVID each day,” Cuomo said in a statement, referring to New York’s vaccinations.
The state has so far administered 90% of the first dose vaccines it’s received from the federal government and more than 80% of first and second doses, the governor said.
In California, officials announced millions of people will be added to the vaccination priority list, including residents “at high risk with developmental and other disabilities” and residents with serious underlying health conditions. The plan, which will begin mid-March, broadens the ages of eligible individuals from 65 and older to ages 16 through 64 who are in those categories.
several Los Angeles mass vaccination centers to temporarily close.
hasn’t been uniform nationwide, a CNN analysis showed.
In some states, people with underlying health conditions remain ineligible to receive the vaccine. In states where they are, there is variation in what conditions make someone eligible and what is required to confirm that condition. And where those groups are eligible for a vaccine, counties may have different timelines in how quickly those groups are getting vaccinated.
A new challenge over the weekend
Some parts of the US this weekend are facing another challenge that’s slowing down vaccinations: winter weather.
Federal officials expect Covid-19 vaccine shipments to Texas will be delayed this week because of a powerful winter storm, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief W. Nim Kidd said.
“Our vaccines that are set to arrive on Sunday, Monday will probably not arrive until Wednesday, Thursday,” Kidd said Saturday, “so we will see delays in vaccine coming into the state.”
Some local outdoor vaccination facilities also shut down ahead of the storm, the chief added, though indoor vaccination administration will continue “as long as it is still safe to drive there.”
tweet from Kaiser Permanente NW. Those who had appointments will be contacted to reschedule.
How the CDC recommends you travel
Meanwhile, as officials continue to track both ongoing vaccinations and the spread of variants, there have been questions about whether there could be changes coming to travel-related requirements.
recently said the Biden administration was considering a rule that would require negative Covid-19 test results for domestic air travel.
does not currently recommend a Covid-19 testing requirement before domestic air travel.
“At this time, CDC is not recommending required point of departure testing for domestic travel,” according to the CDC statement. “As part of our close monitoring of the pandemic, in particular the continued spread of variants, we will continue to review public health options for containing and mitigating spread of COVID-19 in the travel space.”
“If someone must travel, they should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before the trip,” the agency said. “After travel, getting tested with a viral test 3-5 days post-travel and staying home and self-quarantining for 7 days, even if test results are negative, is a recommended public health measure to reduce risk.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has previously cautioned.
“It is not a good idea to travel, period,” Fauci has said. “If you absolutely have to travel and it’s essential then obviously, one would have to do that. But we don’t want people to think because they got vaccinated then other public health recommendations just don’t apply.”
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Lauren Mascarenhas, Elizabeth Cohen, Melissa Alonso Rebekah Riess, Hollie Silverman, Stephanie Becker, Cheri Mossburg, Kristina Sgueglia and Evan Simko-Bednarski contributed to this report.