A White House official said on Wednesday that the US will be approaching having nearly half of all adults with their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of this weekend.
This comes after White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt gave an ambitious timeline to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night.
“We’re on track that by the weekend, half the adults in the country will have had their first shot,” Slavitt said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 41.7% of the population over 18 has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Slavitt warned that “100 million-plus adults still haven’t been vaccinated.”
“They’re not there yet, and you don’t win the war until you bring everybody over with you,” he added.
President Biden, meanwhile, has moved the deadline for all US adults to be eligible for Covid vaccine to April 19. Speaking at the White House yesterday, Biden said that 150 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered within his first 75 days in office, in line with a stated goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office.
Despite those improvements and positive vaccine numbers, the US has a long way to go before reaching herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated 70-85% of the population needs to become immune. And the pace for vaccinating all willing adults varies greatly among states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
And though health experts caution the battle against Covid-19 is not yet won, many states have already reopened and others are planning to soon as well.
California plans to fully reopen activities and businesses beginning June 15, as infection rates are failing, hospitalizations are low and vaccinations rising in the state. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott laid out a 90 day reopening plan leading up to July 4. Officials anticipate roughly 70% of Vermont residents will have received at least one vaccine dose by that time.
Meanwhile, the daily rate of new cases has been on the rise over the last four weeks as highly transmissible variants like B.1.1.7. have spread, according to the CDC. In the past week, five states have accounted for about 44% of new Covid-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
There were about 453,000 new cases in the country in the past seven days, New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported nearly 198,000 of those cases.
Director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Michael Osterholm said that although the states are vaccinating quickly, enough people still haven’t been vaccinated to outpace the spread.
I wish we had another 3 or 4 months before this B.1.1.7.variant surge started to occur,” Osterholm added.
What will life looks life following vaccination? Experts and officials are debating how to monitor vaccinations once life in the US regains a sense of normalcy.