Coronavirus: Big Variation In Vaccination Rates Across US Persists As Summer Comes To A Close — As It Happened

The American summer is almost at an end, and although Covid-19 vaccination coverage picked up again through the warmer months, daily infections and hospitalisations are hovering around their highest levels since January.

Ahead of the Labor Day long weekend, considered the unofficial end of the summer, 52.9 per cent of the US population has been fully vaccinated, according to the latest update on Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That compares with a coverage level of about 40 per cent in late May, just before the Memorial Day long weekend, which is regarded as the unofficial start of summer. At the time, this ranked as one of the highest levels of coverage in the world, but the US has since been overtaken by more than 30 other countries, according to the FT’s vaccine tracker.

Even the most vaccinated state in the US - Vermont, with 68 per cent of its population fully vaccinated - would today rank outside the world’s top 10 countries by coverage level if it was its own nation.

Bar chart of Percentage of state population that has completed their Covid-19 vaccine dose regimen showing States with the highest and lowest share of fully vaccinated residents

After a strong. By early July, the US was administering fewer than 500,000 doses a day, down from a peak seven-day average of more than 3.4m in mid-April. That rate had improved to about 816,000 a day by the end of August, according to CDC data.

Unfortunately, the late-spring decline in the daily vaccination rate overlapped with the rise of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in the US. Large parts of the country with low levels of vaccination coverage found themselves susceptible to the highly-contagious strain, which broadened out into a summer surge in new cases and hospitalisations across most of the US that has again strained hospital resources.

The US averaged more than 152,500 cases a day over the past week, according to the CDC. That compares with a 15-month low of about 11,600 a day in mid-June, and a rate of almost 20,900 a day at the start of summer, which at the time marked a one-year low.

On August 23, the US had more than 100,000 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals for the first time since late January and has remained above that level since. That represents an increase of about 300 per cent from almost 25,600 patients in hospital in late May.

Line chart of Number of patients in US hospitals with coronavirus showing US Covid-19 hospitalisations are up 300% since the start of summer

US states with the highest level of vaccination coverage are generally sporting among the lowest per capita rates of infections and hospitalisations. These include several states in the Northeast, like Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

In contrast, states with the lowest levels of vaccination coverage are reporting some of the highest population-adjusted new case rates and levels of hospitalisations. Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee feature in this group.

With summer coming to a close, 10 states have managed to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of their residents, while five are yet to reach a coverage level of 40 per cent. Ahead of the Independence Day long weekend, just four states had fully vaccinated more than 60 per cent of residents, and more than 10 had coverage levels below 40 per cent.

Source : https://www.ft.com/content/382faa38-5ffd-4e68-b318-b2a27bfdda20?shareType=nongift

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