States Reopen Economies in the United States Photo: Getty Images

COVID-19: States lifting restrictions, economies reopening as life returns to normal in US

*As life is fast returning to normal in several states in the United States, FDA eyeing vaccinating adolescents just health experts are rethinking the concept of ‘herd immunity’ in view of recent improvements in vaccinations across the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the government of the largest economy on earth projects to vaccinate 70 percent of its population at least partially (1st shots) by July 4, 2021, life is fast returning to normal in the largest metro in the United States (US).

Officials in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have announced that their states will drop most Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by May 19.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York in a statement said:  “The tide is turning against COVID-19 in New York, and thanks to our increasing vaccination rates, as well as our successful, data-based regional approach.

“We’re able to take more steps to reopen our economy, help businesses and workers, and keep moving towards returning to normal.”

ConsumerConnect recalls that Texas dropped its mask mandate and capacity limits in early March this year.

In the same vein, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida State also ended most virus mitigation rules and declared that Florida no longer faces a state of emergency as far as the damaging effects of the virus are concerned.

More so, there are reportedly plans in motion to start inoculating adolescents against COVID-19 in the US.

Various media reports cite unnamed officials at the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who say the agency is prepared to authorise the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15.

If and when the FDA takes that action, a federal vaccine advisory committee will meet to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year-olds, and vaccine shots could begin immediately after the CDC adopts the recommendations, report said.

It was gathered Pfizer is likely to be the only approved vaccine for that age group at first. The vaccine manufacturer late March had released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 US volunteers between the ages of 12 and 15.

It showed that there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents, but there were 18 cases among those given a placebo.

Herd immunity might not be necessary

Though from the very beginning of the pandemic, health experts had stated that “herd immunity” was the silver bullet that would vanquish the disruptive Coronavirus.

Now, many of these same experts believe it might not be necessary after all.

ConsumerConnect reports ‘herd immunity’ is the concept that whenever a large percentage of the population is protected from a health threat, then it will fade away. The threshold has always been steep in the case of COVID-19, with estimates suggesting that 70 percent of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve it in most countries of the world.

Dr. Robert Wachter, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told USA Today that with cases of COVID-19 falling rapidly, it looks like a 50 percent vaccination rate might stop the disease. Currently, about 56 percent of Americans have had at least one shot, according to report.

US Government targets 70 percent vaccination by July 4

In connection with the reported sharp drop in demand for COVID-19 vaccines across the country, US President Joe Biden is set to announce a new COVID-19 vaccination goal.

President Biden desires to get the number of adults in the US that have received “at least one” COVID-19 shot to 70 percent by July 4, according to senior administration officials who previewed Tuesday’s planned announcement at the White House.

Report indicates that the number of adults who have received at least a shot is now hovering around 56 percent in the country.

In March, the President said he was hopeful that America would be able to “mark independence” from COVID-19 July 4, 2021.

All Americans 16 and older are eligible to get the vaccine, but daily vaccination rates have been slowing now that those who were most eager to get vaccinated have already been inoculated.

In order to fast-track the process, and get vaccination rates moving higher at a faster pace, the Biden administration is expected to call for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and will direct many pharmacies to do the same.

Other fresh measures to boost vaccination rates will reportedly include redirecting federal assistance away from mass vaccination sites and toward more pop-up and mobile clinics; spending tens of millions of dollars on education and outreach campaigns through states, national organisations and community groups including those that work with underserved communities.

Another step is sending doses directly to rural communities, and rural health clinics and hospitals are also receiving hundreds of millions of Dollars through the $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief package to boost their services.

Administration officials disclosed that Biden’s 70 percent vaccination goal by July 4 would result in a significant reduction of COVID-19 cases as summer gets underway, which would ultimately bring America closer to normalcy soon.

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