(CNN) — The highly contagious variant of covid-19 first identified in the United Kingdom has already been registered in all US states, and experts fear that the spread of this and other variants could lead to an increase in cases of the virus. in the country.
“The United States seems to have grown weary of the pandemic,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “The virus has not tired of us.”
In the United States, more than 15,000 cases of the variant of the coronavirus B.1,1.7 have been reported, which also appears to be more deadly. As the country rushes to vaccinate all residents, many experts are asking the public to hold on to precautions for a while longer.
Effective vaccines against variant
The good news, Osterholm said, is that existing vaccines are very effective against the variants. The bad news is that the US may not be able to manage them quickly enough to avoid another wave.
“As we are going, we will not have vaccinated enough Americans over the course of the next six to ten weeks with this wave that we are going to run into,” Osterholm told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “It’s just not going to happen.”
And although the US is vaccinating nearly five times faster than the global average – 40% of adults in the country have received at least one dose – low-income countries with limited access to vaccines could become a for the variants to get out of hand, Osterholm said.
Fortunately, the US has conditions that could help fight another wave: rising vaccination rates, a significant percentage of the population already infected, and a warm climate, said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Vaccine Advisory Committee. from the FDA.
Restrictions are eased with vaccination
The White House said Monday that there will be enough vaccines for all Americans by the end of next month, and some states have already started making plans to return to normalcy.
Hawaii aims to reopen inter-island travel by July 4, a goal that is accompanied by pilot programs with two companies that would allow travelers to verify vaccination status, Gov. David Ige said.
Cruise ships also hope to return soon. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. aims to resume travel from US ports in July, and the company announced Monday that it will require all passengers and staff to be vaccinated.
“With vaccination mandates and strict health and safety protocols in place, we believe we can provide an exceptionally safe and healthy vacation experience,” said President and CEO Frank Del Rio in a statement.
Students hoping to enroll in classes at Fort Lewis College in Colorado in the fall will also need to get vaccinated, the school said in a statement Friday.
In the nation’s capital Washington, Mayor Muriel Bowser called on residents to get vaccinated as soon as they get the chance. It will also ease many restrictions starting May 1, such as allowing live entertainment events with an audience seated indoors at 25% capacity. In addition, recreation centers, libraries, museums and galleries and non-essential retail stores will be able to operate with 50% capacity indoors or outdoors.
“We know we can expect some reputations of cases this month, but with vaccines and continued safety measures we hope that later in the spring those cases will decrease,” said the mayor, before reminding residents to “get vaccinated as soon as possible. as they have the opportunity.
Bowser is one of many state and local leaders who have eased restrictions, although maintaining precautions remains a crucial part of fighting the virus, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Brown, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Answers vary by state
Although vaccination is progressing rapidly, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise for four consecutive weeks, and that’s largely due to variants, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Diseases (CDC).
In Michigan, where the case record was 563 in a day eight weeks ago, the state’s daily reported case count soared to more than 11,000 this Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It was the highest daily case count reported in the state since late November.
And statewide, there are at least 81 new groups in elementary and middle schools, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Monday.
Despite the increasing prevalence of variants, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said he does not expect his state to experience another wave of cases.
The state has administered more than two million covid-19 vaccines and more than 800,000 people are fully immunized, Lamont said. He added that due to the state’s progress, he hopes that in-person outdoor and indoor graduation ceremonies will be possible, as long as attendees have a social distance and wear a mask.
In Ohio, a surge in the positivity rate has returned the state to an order calling for a “back to basics, common sense” on COVID-19 prevention, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
The new “simplified” order, which should be ready to be signed by the end of Monday, includes wearing masks in most closed places, avoiding congregating in groups of more than 10 people and maintaining social distancing.
“It really is a race,” DeWine said. “These are the things we must do as we move forward.”
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Deidre McPhillips, Nikki Carvajal, Kay Jones, Rebekah Riess, Jen Christensen, Dave Alsup, Joe Sutton, and Alec Snyder contributed to this report.