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Mesa County, Mesa County

Biden may hit July 4 vaccine goal, but millions of unvaccinated Americans will keep COVID alive this summer

There’s a real chance America could reach President Biden’s ambitious goal of giving 70 percent of U.S. adults at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4, according to the latest data.

6/2/2021 7:09:00 PM

Well over 40 percent of the total population — upwards of 140 million Americans, including children — will likely remain unvaccinated this summer. And there will be more unvaccinated people in some places than others

There’s a real chance America could reach President Biden ’s ambitious goal of giving 70 percent of U.S. adults at least one COVID -19 vaccine shot by July 4, according to the latest data.

. “This is a more contagious strain. … If you do not get a vaccine, you are unprotected.”A commuter receives a shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a subway station on May 12 in Brooklyn as part of the MTA’s public vaccination program. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

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Across Colorado, the numbers tell a clear story about who’s getting sick and who isn’t. According toanother CPR report published Tuesday, about 500 people remain hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 — and “almost all of them … are unvaccinated.” Likewise, CPR reported that “doctors in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in the state can’t recall a single death of a vaccinated person.” And when the Colorado health department recently plotted both COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations against vaccinations, county by county, they found that “Denver area and mountain counties with higher vaccination rates [are] seeing fewer cases and hospitalizations” — while “more people are still getting sick and hospitalized due to the virus” in “counties like El Paso, Pueblo, Weld and Mesa [that] have recorded fewer vaccinations per capita.”

National numbers follow the same pattern. Arecent analysis by the Washington Post, for instance, found that unvaccinated Americans are being hospitalized and dying with COVID-19 at significantly higher rates than Americans overall; in several states, the virus is spreading as fast among the unvaccinated as it did during the winter surge.

To be sure, the scale of the threat is much smaller than it was back then. Linn and Livingston counties are currently averaging roughly 20 new COVID cases per day; Mesa is averaging 50. These aren’t the sort of huge outbreaks that devastated, say, Los Angeles over the holidays. More than 165 million Americans have been vaccinated, including 86 percent of seniors (i.e., the people who are most likely to get seriously ill or die from COVID). The more people have immunity, the harder it gets for the virus to find its next host; to some degree, vaccinated Americans are protecting unvaccinated Americans from themselves.

That will continue to be the case. But who knows how much protection other people’s immunity will provide when new variants arise, or when the weather drives less vaccinated communities indoors. Will new clusters like Linn and Livingston and Mesa arise? Will sickness and death follow?

People wait in line for COVID vaccinations in Los Angeles in April. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)When it comes to COVID, each statistic — however small — represents another human life. Last week in Mesa County, a child died after testing positive for the B.1.617.2 variant — the county’s first pediatric COVID death to date.

According to the Mesa County Public Health Department, the child was hospitalized before her age group was eligible to receive the vaccine — and after contracting COVID from a family member.Was that relative vaccinated? Would that child still be alive if they had been? What about the other 500 people nationwide who died of COVID today, and tomorrow, and the day after?

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For most Americans, vaccinated and unvaccinated, normal life will resume in the weeks and months ahead, if it hasn’t already. The difference is that even though we now have the power to prevent nearly all sickness and death, unvaccinated Americans will be choosing to live with some degree of it.

Read more: Yahoo News »

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