Experts are concerned that some Americans are giving up too soon, at a crucial time when looming threats threaten to undo the gains made in the fight against Covid-19.
This month, at least a dozen state governors have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, citing improved Covid-19 patterns and rising vaccination rates. Simultaneously, air travel is at pandemic-era highs, and the first spring break crowds have started to converge on Florida and other sunny destinations, even as cases of a deadly variant are on the increase.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 1.2 million passengers were screened at airports across the United States on Monday, taking the total number of US air travelers since Thursday to around 6.4 million. That’s more than every other five-day time during the pandemic.
Spring breakers have arrived in Florida, with some Miami Beach officials claiming swollen crowds and precautions being abandoned. Officials fear that a mixture of both of these variables will pave the way for another spike.
“We have seen footage of people enjoying spring break festivities, maskless,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday. “This is all in the context of still 50,000 cases per day.”
“We could go in either direction,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN on Monday. “What happens now is really up to us and whether we keep up masking and avoiding indoor gatherings as we should be until the point that we’re vaccinated.”
Multiple strains of the virus are circulating, including the extremely infectious B.1.1.7 strain, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, according to experts.
According to Walensky, B.1.1.7 is expected to become the dominant variant in the United States by the end of this month or early April. Since it is highly infectious, it may result in a spike in cases, according to experts, and vaccination levels are inadequate to prevent such a spike.
“The way the variants spread is by letting our guard down. By not wearing masks, by not social distancing. If we can hang in there for a few more months, there will be enough vaccine for every adult in America to be vaccinated.”
“Then we can truly let go of some of the restrictions that are in place. But if we do this too quickly, we could see an increase in cases, we could see a backslide that is occurring in many European countries and that does not have to be the outcome here in America,” he added.
According to research published last week, the variant was linked to a 64 percent increased risk of dying from Covid-19. Current vaccines, according to researchers, provide effective defense against the B.1.1.7 strain.
The KidCOVE study will recruit approximately 6,750 children between the ages of two and six in the United States and Canada. The trial is divided into two parts. In part one, children aged 6 months to 1 year and ages 2 to 11 are given various vaccine dosages to assess.
These results will be used to decide which dosage will be used in the second phase of the experiment, which will also involve children who will receive a saline placebo, which has no effect.
According to the patient information page for the clinical trial, Moderna is conducting experiments to see whether the vaccine prevents children from being ill if they come into contact with coronavirus. Moderna has also been performing a separate Phase 2/3 study for 12 to 17-year-olds. The Moderna vaccine is currently only available to people aged 18 and up. For the Pfizer vaccine, the youngest age required for any of the three Covid-19 inoculations approved in the US is 16.