Coronavirus cases continue to rise across the United States, fueling fears of a fourth wave as officials urge Americans to keep following public health measures.
On Sunday, the U.S. recorded 46,378 new infections with a seven-day rolling average of 70,196, the highest figure since February 26.
In the last week alone, the average number of cases has risen by almost 11 percent and totals are increasing in 22 states, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Although the figure is far below January’s peak of about 247,000 average new cases, it is in line with the late July surge, when daily cases were averaging about 68,000.
Meanwhile, just 283 coronavirus deaths were reported on Sunday, which is the second-lowest number reported this month, the analysis revealed.
However, the seven-day rolling average surpassed 1,000 for the first time in almost two weeks.
Since the pandemic began, more than 31.1 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 562,000 have died.
Even as vaccinations continue to ramp up across the country, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned that that Americans may need booster shots after about a year to maintain immunity.
On Sunday, the U.S. recorded 46,378 new coronavirus infections with a seven-day rolling average of 70,196, the highest figure since February 26
Although just 283 coronavirus deaths were reported on Sunday, the seven-day rolling average surpassed 1,000 for the first time in almost two weeks
In the last week, the average number of cases has risen by nearly 11% and 22 states are reporting rising case numbers, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University
Dr Anthony Fauci warned on MSNBC on Sunday (pictured) that Americans may need to receive coronavirus vaccine boosters after a year to ‘keep up the level of protection’
During an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday, Fauci was asked about data from Pfizer Inc, which showed its coronavirus vaccine was effective for at least six months.
‘We need to be careful about that six month number,’ said Fauci, adding that this time period was the farthest out that scientists were able to measure.
‘We know for sure it’s effective for six months and highly likely that it will be effective for considerably longer period of time.’
He said that researchers will be continuing to study people in the months to come, measuring their antibody levels and studying any fully vaccinated person who contracted COVID-19.
‘So the good news is that it’s at least six months. Hopefully a lot more,’ Fauci said.
‘But in direct answer to your question, if it turns out a year or a year and a half, we very well may need to get booster shots to keep up the level of protection.’
It’s a turnaround from a previous statement, in which the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he was confident that the available vaccines offered adequate protection.
Preliminary data show that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States should provide an adequate degree of protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants,’ Fauci said in late March.
He added that ‘out of an abundance of caution,’ the NIAID was continuing to partner with Moderna to evaluate a booster candidate.
It comes as experts worry about the Midwest, which has seen an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
In Minnesota, the number of infections has risen from an average of 1,569 per day to 2,348 per day, a 49 percent increase over two weeks, data from Johns Hopkins shows.
In nearby Illinois, coronavirus cases have similarly surged, by 48 percent in the last 14 days from 2,412 per day to 3,578 per day.
Perhaps the state that is most worrying scientists is Michigan.
Over the course of month, the average number of cases in Michigan has risen from about 2,000 per day to more than 6,000 per day, and hospitalizations have surged 400%
In Minnesota, the number of coronavirus infections has risen from an average of 1,569 per day to 2,348 per day, a 49% increase over two weeks,
In Illinois, coronavirus cases have surged by 48% in the last 14 days from 2,412 per day to 3,578 per day
In just one month, cases have exploded from an average of about 2,000 per day to more than 6,000 per day
State data shows that, as of April, there were 3,780 hospitalized COVID-19 patients In Michigan, a more than 400 percent increase in just one month.
The rise appears to be due to the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK, known as B.1.1.7, which accounts for about 70 percent of new cases in the state.
‘Michigan is really the bellwether for what it looks like when the B.1.1.7 variant…spreads in the United States,’ Dr Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, told CNN on Sunday.
‘It’s causing a surge in cases and it’s causing more severe disease, which means that even younger people, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are getting very sick and being hospitalized from this.’
Gounder said the other factor behind the surge is a lack of following public health measures such as not wearing masks before a large percentage of residents are vaccinated.
‘The hard truth is that the only thing that will curb transmission right now are measures that take effect immediately,’ she said.
Former FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb criticized the Biden administration for refusing to send a surge of vaccine doses to Michigan.
‘It’s a request that’s been made for weeks now, and I think we should have done it weeks ago,’ he said on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday.
‘It’s never too late to do it. And it’s not just additional vaccine, but it’s the resources to actually get the vaccine into arms.’
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, warned on Monday that pandemic was far from over and urged against complacency. Pictured: Tedros attends a news conference, July 2020
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that confusion and complacency in addressing COVID-19 means the pandemic is a long way from over.
However, he said the crisis can be brought under control in months with proven public health measures
‘We too want to see societies and economies reopening, and travel and trade resuming,’ Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.
‘But right now, intensive care units in many countries are overflowing and people are dying – and it’s totally avoidable. The COVID-19 pandemic is a long way from over, but we have many reasons for optimism.’
He noted that the decline in cases and deaths seen after the winter surge of 2020-21 is evidence that both the virus and the variants can be stopped.
During the news briefing, Maria van Kerkove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, said that, globally, there has been with a nine percent increase in cases last week, the seventh consecutive week of increases, and a five percent rise in deaths.
Tedros said that transmission of the virus is being driven by ‘confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures.’
He added that in some countries, despite continuing spread, restaurants and nightclubs were full and markets were open and crowded with few people taking precautions.
‘Some people appear to be taking the approach that if they’re relatively young, it doesn’t matter if they get COVID-19,’ Tedros said.