With death projections down and vaccine mandates working, new reason for hope
As millions of Americans became eligible and got vaccinated against COVID-19, there was much hope for a return to life somewhat as we knew it before the pandemic over the summer. Then the Delta variant of the disease took hold in the U.S. and outbreaks by and large among those who are unvaccinated sent death tolls up to more than 2,000 per day. They stayed around that mark for most of the summer, with hospital systems overwhelmed and spare ICU beds hard to come by in some states.
Now, once again, it appears there’s a silver lining on the horizon. For the first time since June, the CDC national ensemble predicts COVID deaths will decline over the next four weeks. With 55.5% of the population fully vaccinated, the U.S. needs higher numbers to stifle potential outbreaks. Vaccine mandates among healthcare workers, hospitality workers, and other industries are having the desired effect of getting more adults inoculated.
The impending of approval of the Pfizer vaccine for use in 5-11-year-olds will improve overall rates, as children are a large group not yet eligible for COVID vaccination, and they tend to be pretty good vectors for illness. A Kaiser poll this week found 34% of parents would get their kids aged 5-11 vaccinated as soon as they were eligible. That number has been steadily climbing as more data come in and the likelihood of approval draws nearer.
We have been here before, seemingly headed toward a light at the end of tunnel only for another wave of COVID to come along and set us back. Eradicating the disease, at least in the near term, is not a realistic goal. But reducing it to a seasonal nuisance, like the flu, is possible with increased vaccination rates. Eventually we will turn the corner that takes COVID down a notch from pandemic status. Whether it’s this time around depends on more vaccinations.