If they continue to relax their security measures, the inhabitants of the United States and its territories run the risk of losing the ground they won in the battle against Covid-19.
Especially, before the appearance of highly contagious variants.
“Please, listen to me clearly: at this level of cases with variants that are spreading, we can completely lose the ground gained with so much effort,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Control and Disease Prevention (CDC).
After days of declines in the number of cases, he said, new infections are raising the curve again, at a rate of two percent more, compared to the past two weeks, Walensky said Monday.
“Similarly, the most recent seven-day death average has also risen more than two percent … to nearly 2,000 deaths per day,” which is why Walensky also alerted states that they are easing security mandates from Covid-19.
“I am truly concerned by reports that more states are rolling back the public health measures that we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19,” she continued.
Please stand firm in your conviction. Please continue to wear your well-fitting mask and take the other public health prevention actions that we know work, ”he added. “Ultimately, vaccination is what will get us out of this pandemic. To get there, we need to vaccinate many more people. “
The good news is that the single-dose vaccine from the multinational Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will begin to be administered this week.
About 3.9 million doses of this drug will be distributed to states, tribes, territories, pharmacies and community health centers, a senior Biden administration official said Sunday night.
“Those doses of J&J will be delivered this Tuesday (March 2) in the morning,” he said. And because it is a one-dose vaccine, “people don’t have to come back for a second dose to be protected,” added Walensky.
Also, this vaccine does not need to be stored in a freezer and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures. Therefore, it is easy to transport and store and allows greater availability in most community settings and mobile sites as supply increases. ”
The other two vaccines in circulation, one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from Moderna, have efficacy rates of about 95 percent, with even greater protection against severe forms of the disease.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown a 72 percent efficacy rate against mild to critical illness among trial participants in the United States. In addition, it has been shown to be more effective against severe forms of the disease, with approximately 85 percent protection.
The J&J vaccine was also tested in South Africa when the worrisome B.1.351 strain was dominant there, but still offered strong protection against serious diseases.
No time to waste
On the subject, health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have told the CNN news network that they would be happy to “receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine” if it were the only one available, because the three vaccines that are currently distributed are highly effective against severe Covid-19.
And if that’s the only vaccine available in your area, you should go ahead and get it as soon as you can, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen stressed Monday.
“Think about the other vaccines we get. If we are going to get vaccinated against influenza, I don’t think anyone will ask the brand of the influenza vaccine (or) which company makes it. “
“Right now, the key is to get some kind of immunity. Get the first vaccine you have available. You can always get another vaccine or a booster shot later when supply is not the problem, ”he added.
Free the new variants
All even agreed that the month of March will be a very important chapter in this pandemic.
The CDC has predicted that the highly contagious variant first detected in the UK, B.1.1.7, will become the dominant strain across the United States this month.
According to data from the CDC, at the end of this report, more than 2,460 infections with variants of Covid-19 strains had been reported, of which 2,400 correspond to the highly contagious B.1.1.7.
These figures, moreover, are in all probability much lower than the actual number of people infected by variants. The numbers represent only the cases found through genomic sequence, the CDC said.
Can you counteract them?
Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer-BioNTech are trying to make sure their vaccines stay ahead of the variants.
The B.1.351 strain first detected in South Africa has the most concerning effects on the ability of vaccines to elicit an immune response, Dr. Heather Scobie acknowledged at the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices meeting on Monday.
He also said that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine protect people better than a single dose.
“Five studies have shown that postponing the second dose of mRNA can leave some people less protected against SARS-Cov-2 variants,” Scobie told the meeting.
The Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
“All studies showed better neutralization of B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 after the second dose of vaccine,” he continued. “In some studies, people who had recovered from Covid-19 and received one dose of vaccine had moderate protection against B.1.351.”
Johnson & Johnson is working on a booster to help its Covid-19 vaccine to deal with new strains of variants of the coronavirus, said the CEO of that company, Alex Gorsky.
Last week, Moderna said it had designed a booster vaccine to help avoid the B.1.351 strain, which has worried scientists because it has a mutation that could affect the effectiveness of vaccines.
That injection would serve as a booster for people who have already been vaccinated and as a primary vaccine for people who have not had coronavirus and who have not yet been vaccinated.
Moderna is also testing a third lower dose of its current vaccine in trial participants to see if that would protect against worrisome variants.
Pfizer and BioNTech said last week that they began testing how well a third dose of their licensed vaccine compares to the new variants.
On Monday, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said it will take six to eight weeks to get real-world data showing how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is against variant B.1.351.