Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states, a situation that is pressuring the federal government to consider changing the way it distributes vaccines by shipping more doses to hot spots.
New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation's new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to data from the state agency of health compiled by Johns Hopkins University. . Total infections in the US during the same week amounted to more than 452,000.
The large concentration of new cases in states that make up 22% of the US population has prompted some experts and elected officials to ask the administration of President Joe Biden to send additional doses of vaccines to those locations. So far, the White House has shown no signs of changing its policy of dividing vaccine doses among states based on population.
Sending extra doses to places where the number of infections is increasing makes sense, said Dr. Elvin H. Geng, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington. But it is also complicated. States that are more successfully controlling the virus may see fewer vaccines as a result.
"I wouldn't want to keep those people waiting because they were doing better," Geng said. "On the other hand, it only makes sense to send vaccines where cases are increasing."
The increase in cases has been especially pronounced in Michigan, where the seven-day average of daily new infections reached 6,719 cases Sunday, more than double what it was two weeks earlier. Only New York reported a higher number of cases. And California and Texas, which have much larger populations than Michigan, are reporting less than half their number of daily infections.
Although Michigan has had the highest rate of new infections in the past two weeks, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she does not plan to tighten restrictions. She has blamed the rise of the virus on pandemic fatigue, which makes people move more, as well as more contagious variants.
"Taking steps back would not fix the problem," Whitmer said when he received his first shot Tuesday at Ford Field in Detroit, home of the NFL's Lions. "What we have to do is really hit the gas pedal" and urge people to wear masks, maintain their social distance and wash their hands.
Whitmer received the vaccine the day after Michigan expanded eligibility to everyone 16 and older. He asked the White House last week during a conference call with governors if he had considered sending an additional vaccine to states battling virus outbreaks. They told him that all the options were on the table.
In New York City, vaccination appointments remain hard to come by. Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly harangued the federal government about the need for an increased allocation of vaccines almost daily, a refrain he repeated when he spoke to reporters Tuesday.
"We still need supply, supply, supply," de Blasio said, before adding: "But things are really looking up."
At the state level, Gov. free tiktok fans Andrew Cuomo has not publicly called for an increase in New York's vaccine allocation, even as cases have risen in recent weeks and the number of people hospitalized has stagnated.
In New Jersey, where the seven-day moving top news average of daily new infections has risen in the past two weeks, from 4,050 daily cases to 4,250, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said he constantly talks to the White House about the vaccine demand. against coronavirus. him, although he stopped short of saying that he was pushing for more vaccinations due to the state's high infection rate.
Vaccine shipments to New Jersey increased 12% in the past week, top news Murphy said Monday, though he questioned whether that's enough.
"We constantly look, okay, we know we are going up, but are we going up at the rate we should, particularly given the number of cases we have?" Murphy said.
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