Since the first case of coronavirus hit the U.S. in January 2020, there have been over 27 million cases in the country, resulting in over 465,000 deaths.
Recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced new data as of February 10th to support double-masking or masks that fit tighter around the face, since it would slow the spread of COVID-19 more efficiently. New reports advise people to prevent the virus from being transmitted by wearing cloth face coverings over medical masks. Double-masking potentially lowers the receiver’s exposure to the respiratory droplet particles responsible for spreading COVID-19 by more than 95%.
As the Biden Administration plans to increase the COVID-19 vaccine supply, the Response Team is also expanding access for underserved communities. Response Team Coordinator Jeff Zients stated, in a press briefing organized by the White House Covid-19 Response Team along with Public Health Officials, that federally qualified health centers (FQHC), or Community Health Centers, will become very important. The administration sites play a huge role in taking care of communities that are at risk in the overall U.S. health system. Zients said, “Equity is core to our strategy to put this pandemic behind us, and equity means that we are reaching everyone, particularly those in underserved and rural communities and those who have been hit hardest by this pandemic.” Besides addressing the problems certain communities are facing, more FQHCs means more vaccine supplies. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said that there are 1,300 enters serving 300 million people and two-thirds are under the federal poverty line with 60% of them identifying as minorities.
As of March 25, California has 3,551,056 confirmed cases and the 7-day positivity rate is 1.9%. So far, 52,630,376 tests were conducted in California, indicating an increase of 116,641 during the prior 24-hour reporting period. There have been 56,850 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. As of March 24, providers have reported administering 15,537,745 vaccine doses statewide. The CDC reports that 19,809,080 doses have been sent to entities within the state.
The blueprint summary as of March 23 includes 8 counties in the Purple (widespread) Tier, 39 counties in the Red (substantial) tier, 9 counties in the Orange (moderate) tier, and 2 counties in the Yellow (minimal) tier.
As of April 7th, hospitals are experiencing an increase in young adults in their 30s and 40s admitted with severe cases of Covid-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that “Data suggests this is all happening as we are seeing increasing prevalence of variants, with 52 jurisdictions now reporting cases of variants of concerns.” Scientists are declaring that new forms of the coronavirus are more transmittable and some of them may be more dangerous, resulting in the growth in severe cases.
The highly contagious B.1.1.7 form of the virus from the U.K. has become the dominant strain circulating in the U.S., according to Walensky, warning that traveling could lead to another rise in cases, particularly, in Florida where the variant is being quickly passed on. At a briefing on March 15, 2021, by the White House Covid-19 Response Team with Public Health Officials, Walensky pleads, “Cases climbed last spring, they climbed again in the summer, they will climb now if we stop taking precautions when we continue to get more and more people vaccinated.”
During this pandemic, we must all pitch in to take this issue seriously and take control of the situation in order to minimize its danger to people who are at risk. While the B.1.1.7 variant spreads and now accounts for more than 16,000 cases across 52 jurisdictions in the country, it’s important to consider double-masking and staying socially distanced from others.