(Trends Wide) — This year’s Thanksgiving will be very different from last year, but it is far from risk-free, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the United States and millions of people across the country remain unvaccinated.
The daily rate of cases in the United States is about half what it was at this time last year, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But the current rate, around 92,000 new COVID-19 cases every day, is 16% higher than a week ago.
Cases declined rapidly at the end of the summer surge, but have started to rise again over the past two weeks and have now returned to levels last seen in August.
Almost a third of new cases are in the Midwestern states, and Michigan and Minnesota report more cases per capita than any other state. But the trend is nationwide. All but a dozen states saw an increase in cases over the past week, JHU data shows.
The latest increase in cases “is not unexpected,” as people spend more time indoors during the cold weather season and as immunity wanes, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to Trends Wide’s Dana Bash on Sunday.
“We have a lot of viruses circulating,” Fauci said.
With millions still unvaccinated, that “results in the dynamics of the virus in the community that is not only dangerous and makes unvaccinated people vulnerable, but also spreads to vaccinated people because no vaccine is 100% effective. “, said.
Unvaccinated people continue to generate new covid-19 infections
People who are not yet vaccinated are “the leading source” of coronavirus infections in US communities right now, Fauci said Sunday on “ABC This Week.”
Nearly 60% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but about 82 million people – more than a third of those eligible – have yet to receive their first dose, according to a Trends Wide analysis of data from the Centers. for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Unvaccinated people face a higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, and the gap is even greater in terms of risk of hospitalization or death.
Unvaccinated people were six times more likely than fully vaccinated people to test positive for COVID-19 and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19, according to the most recent data from the CDC.
Fully vaccinated families can safely enjoy the holidays without masks, Fauci said.
“Get vaccinated and you can enjoy the holidays very easily. And if you are not vaccinated, be careful,” he said.
On Friday, the CDC updated its recommendations for booster shots, making all adults who completed their initial series of shots at least six months ago eligible for an additional dose.
But of the 117 million eligible adults, only about 35 million have received a booster shot, CDC data shows.
Hospitalizations are also increasing
Following an increase in cases, covid-19 hospitalizations are also starting to rise again. Currently, more than 50,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services Three-quarters of beds in intensive care units are full, more than one in seven of them for patients with covid-19.
And more than 1,100 people die from Covid-19 every day, according to JHU data.
“Since vaccines became widely available, the vast majority of those dying are the unvaccinated. People who, for one reason or another, have been led to believe that this is something they don’t want to take advantage of,” said the Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on Sunday.
“Those are preventable deaths. Probably at least 100,000 of the deaths that have occurred this year did not have to occur,” Collins told Trends Wide’s Jim Acosta.
Asking Thanksgiving guests to get tested for COVID-19 before meeting is “a reasonable idea for that extra level of protection,” Fauci said on “CBS Mornings” on Monday.
“It is not a strict requirement, but I think if you want to go a step further, especially when you are in a region where there are many infections and there are people traveling, it is not unreasonable to tell people to take a test, one of those rapid tests. 24 hours or so before entering an indoor environment with people. “
Trends Wide’s Jacqueline Howard and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.