Can the United States avoid a new wave of European-style coronavirus infection? | US News

Optimism is spreading in the US as Covid-19 deaths drop, and countries are easing restrictions and opening vaccines to younger adults. But across EuropeThe dread began with another wave of infections, which closed schools and cafes and imposed new closures.

The divergent pathways of the epidemic on the two continents could be partly linked to a much faster vaccine release in the United States and a greater spread of infectious variants in Europe.

However, US health experts say, what is happening in Europe should be a warning against dropping guarantees too early, as many of the same variables are already spreading in the US at low levels.

“Each of these countries had theories like the ones we are facing now, and each has gone upward after ignoring known mitigation strategies,” said Dr. Rochelle Wallinsky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “They took their eyes off the ball.”

The result has been a spike in new infections and hospitalizations in several European countries over the past few weeks.

The rate of new Covid-19 cases in Poland has more than doubled since February, straining its healthcare system and leading to a three-week nationwide lockdown announced on Wednesday for shopping centers, theaters, galleries and sports centers.

Italy closed most of its classrooms earlier this week and expanded the areas where restaurants and cafes can only eat out or deliver. The country’s health experts say they are seeing an increasing number of patients in middle age and younger ages.

at France– Officials imposed lockdowns over the weekend around the French Riviera in the south and the English Channel in the north, and are preparing to impose new restrictions on the Paris region and possibly beyond. Covid-19 patients occupy 100% of standard intensive care hospital beds in the region surrounding the nation’s capital.

A pedestrian crosses the courtyard in front of the Louvre in Paris as France prepares for a new closure.
A pedestrian crosses the courtyard in front of the Louvre in Paris as France prepares for a new closure. Photo: Chesnot / Getty Images

Serbia announced a nationwide lockdown for the rest of the week, resulting in all non-essential stores and businesses being closed. The country of 7 million reported more than 5,000 new cases on Tuesday, its highest number in months.

By comparison, new infections and hospitalizations are slowing in the United States, even as the country suffers the worst death toll in the world. More than 537,000 Americans have died since the pandemic began.

The death rate in the United States has dropped to an average of just under 1,300 per day, down from a high of around 3,400 in January. Meanwhile, nearly 55,000 people are infected every day with the new infection, which is a much lower rate than the quarter of a million people infected every day in early January.

However, it appears that new infections and hospitalizations have reached a plateau just a little lower than the infection peak in the summer of 2020, which is the time when the Corona virus has dominated much of the Sun Belt, from Florida to Southern California.

“Every time we reach a new and unprecedented increase in this epidemic, we quickly return it to normal,” said Comi Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. Fox.

Moreover, Texas and Mississippi have revoked mask mandates and capacity limits in most public places of life, even as the variants that have gripped Europe have proliferated there. Meanwhile, airlines have had their best weeks since the pandemic began and say more people are booking flights for the spring and summer.

“Vaccination without a speed limit, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this is what will protect us from what is happening in Europe,” said Dr. Amish Adalja, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland.

Adalja said he thinks it’s too early for the states to drop mask mandates, but restaurants and other venues could start increasing capacity gradually. “You don’t have to do what Texas did,” Adalja said. “You can increase the capacity while keeping the masks in place.”

People share a drink on the patio at 5015 bar while Texas is raising its mask mandate.
People share a drink on the patio at 5015 bar while Texas is raising its mask mandate. Photo: Callahan O’Hare / Reuters

The European Union vaccination has lagged far behind in Britain and the United States due to vaccine shortages and other obstacles. Almost one in five people in the United States have received at least one vaccine dose, while in most European countries, it is less than one in ten vaccines.

Josh Michaud, co-director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, said: “The rapid relaxation in Europe of the demands of distancing in many places, together with residents leaving their guardians looking at the light at the end of a long pandemic tunnel, has helped pave the way. Current mutations. “

Several European countries have also stopped using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The United States has not authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine, although it is controversially tolerated Purchase agreement 100 million doses.

Joe Biden is pushing all nations to do so Raise vaccine eligibility requirements By May 1. Removing the eligibility criteria will allow the vaccination of nearly all adults and children over 16 years of age. The majority of vaccine doses purchased by the federal government are expected to be delivered by early July.

Even as cases continue to rise, expanding vaccine availability and declining infection rates have led to cautious optimism and a renewed sense of hope in the United States.

An empty hallway and a description of unused face shields inside a closed Covid-19 intensive care unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California, tell the story of the refined appearance. At the beginning of the year, the ward was full with Covid-19 patients.

“I’m getting goose bumps,” said Christina Anderson, an ICU nurse. “It’s really just surreal because, you know, a month and a half ago, our unit was filled with very severe Covid patients, and many of them didn’t survive.”

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