Covid-19 cases are surging around the world despite the best efforts of health organizations to pump out hundreds of millions of vaccines. The United States alone vaccinated a record 4.6 million people on Saturday, followed by another 3.6 million on Sunday, but is continuing to see cases increase — the daily total of new cases is now approximately 70,000, compared to the summer surge that peaked at 67,000 cases per day in July.
Many of the new cases of Covid-19 in the United States are beginning in Michigan, with data from the state matching or exceeding its previous record case counts. Michigan is not alone as a contributor to Covid-19 cases in the United States — cases are also surging in states like Florida and New York, where social distancing restrictions are being relaxed. Although vaccination rates are increasing in these states, the current rate is not enough to completely contain the spread of new cases of Covid-19. States must continue to follow safety restrictions to maintain low numbers of infections.
The surge in cases in the United States is a microcosm of the spread of Covid-19 around the world. The World Health Organization says that Covid-19 is “growing exponentially,” with a total of 4.4 million new cases reported last week. In countries that are relaxing safety restrictions, cases are even higher than they were a year ago, near the beginning of the pandemic. In total, the new cases amounted to a 9% increase in infections — following three additional consecutive weeks with rising cases.
Although vaccination rates around the world are increasing, many poor countries with dense populations and high susceptibility to Covid-19 infections are struggling to find enough vaccines to protect their citizens adequately. New strains of Covid-19 are also more contagious and spread more rapidly than previous strains. India recently passed Brazil as the country with the second most infections as a result of a variant of the virus with two infectious mutations, and a mutant variant from the United Kingdom is now responsible for more cases than any other strain. The new variations are also more deadly than the original strain, causing additional concern for nations that are unable to get enough doses of the vaccine.
If the world and countries with staggering amounts of cases like the United States want to contain Covid-19 and bring an end to the pandemic, they will need to rapidly expand their vaccine production and rollout operations. For the pandemic to truly come to an end, influential nations will need to prioritize vaccinations for poor countries with high populations. In the meantime, WHO encourages countries to continue enforcing safety procedures to attempt to mitigate any further increases in the total number of infections. Until a time when vaccinations are more easily accessible, wearing masks, proper social distancing, and sanitization are the most effective methods for reducing Covid-19 infections. In cases of severe, uncontained spread, lockdowns may come back into effect despite efforts to increase vaccination rates.