Public health experts say the U.S. is currently in a race between vaccinating the population against the coronavirus and a surge in cases following spring break.
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 58,480 new infections, a 16 percent drop over the last month, and 1,173 deaths.
However, over the last week or so, seven-day rolling averages have plateaued around 55,000 cases and 1,400 fatalities, according to a DailyMail.com analysis.
What’s more, at least 14 states have seen a rise in cases, with increases of at least 10 percent compared to the week prior, Johns Hopkins University data show.
In northeastern states such as New York and New Jersey, new cases per 100,000 people are at least double the national average.
‘We are really in a race here,’ former acting Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr Richard Besser told CNN.
‘We’re in a race to get the population vaccinated. At the same time, we’re fighting people’s exhaustion with the restrictions that public health has put in place and we’re fighting the move by so many governors to remove the restrictions that are keeping us all safe.’
On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded 58,480 new infections and 1,173 deaths, with seven-day rolling averages plateauing at 54,000 and 1,500, respectively
The former acting director for the CDC said the U.S. is in a race to get people vaccinated as many people experience COVID-19 fatigue that could lead to a spike in cases
At least 14 states have reported 10% increases including states where restrictions have been rolled back such as Michigan, Montana and Alabama (above)
Several states are seeing are now seeing a rise in cases after weeks of plateauing or declining rates.
According to Johns Hopkins data, Michigan has seen the biggest increase with a 50 percent surge this week in comparison with last week.
Dr Jennifer Morse, the medical director for the Mid-Michigan District Health Department, told CNN that several factors are contributing to dramatic rise.
Among them are a rolling back of restrictions. Earlier this month, Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer increased capacity limits at restaurants and businesses and pushed back curfew.
Morse says people have also stopped wearing masks and that there are more cases of the UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, in Michigan than any other state aside from Florida.
‘My one hope is that we have been really aggressively vaccinating and have been working through the different categories for vaccination quite well,’ Morse told CNN.
‘And my hope is that that will help to keep [cases] from climbing as rampantly as [they] did back in the fall.’
Michigan has seen the biggest increase in new infections with a jump 50% this week in comparison with last week
In Montana, health experts attribute the spike in cases to more variants being identified, including the UK, California and New York variants
Cases have risen by about 20% in Alabama as Gov Kay Ivey kept a mask mandate in place but rolled back other restrictions such as restaurant capacity
Johns Hopkins data show that states including Alabama, Delaware, Montana and West Virginia are also seeing cases increase.
The Montana Department of Health says one reason for the increase in the state could be the rise of variants.
According to the Billings Gazette, there are 19 cases of variants in the state, including 11 of the UK variant, as well as cases linked to teh Califrornia and New York variants.
‘Montana continues to submit both random and suspect COVID-19 samples to the CDC for testing,’ Adam Meier, director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services, told the newspaper in a statement.
‘As more surveillance and testing continues, it’s not surprising to find more confirmed variant cases in Montana and the U.S.’
Last month, Republican Gov Greg Gianforte also rolled back restrictions, including the end of the state’s mask mandate.
But Meier urged residents to keep wearing masks, practice social distancing and get themselves vaccinated.
Cases have also risen by about 20 percent in Alabama.
Although Governor Kay Ivey extended the state’s mask mandate through April 9, she also also lifted restrictions such as the number of people who can eat at a single restaurant table.
Dr Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, said these increases – coupled with easing restrictions – are predictors of another surge.
‘I think we are going to see a surge in the number of infections,’ Wen told CNN.
‘I think what helps this time though is that the most vulnerable – particularly nursing home residents, people who are older – are now vaccinated. And so we may prevent a spike in hospitalizations and deaths.’
In Connecticut, the test positivity rate skyrocketed to nearly 5% this week after spending weeks at roughly 2% to 3%
New York and New Jersey are reporting double the number of new infections per capita than seen at the national level.
However, the trends of upward cases are not occurring in just southern or western states. The Northeast is also seeing worrying trends.
In Connecticut, the test positivity rate skyrocketed to nearly five percent this week after spending weeks at roughly two percent to three percent.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey’s the seven-day rolling average in confirmed coronavirus cases increased 12 percent from one week ago.
Additionally, New York and New Jersey are reporting double the number of new infections per capita than seen at the national level.
The current national average is 16.4 cases per 100,000 people, a DailyMail.com analysis finds.
Comparatively, New York State is reporting 36 cases per 100,000 people and New Jersey is reporting 48 cases per 100,000 residents.
Doctors believe the reason behind New York City’s struggle to lower cases may be the new variant. City data shows the test positivity rate has not fallen below six percent in months.
But the best way to beat back the variant is to mask up and get vaccinated when it’s your turn, they add.
‘Every single person that we can get vaccinated or every single person that we can get a mask on is one less opportunity that a variant has,’ Dr.Stephen J Thomas, Upstate Medical University’s chief of infectious disease, told The New York Times.
Spring breakers walked in Miami Beach, Flroida without masks, prompting fears of a surge
Photos have emerged of people in states such as Florida not wearing masks or practicing social distancing
As several states loosen or get restrictions all together, experts fear of a surge. Pictured: People gather close together in Miami Beach, Florida