We have tools in place to mitigate the escalation of new cases, but we need to act now with a sense of urgency — and that means intensifying efforts to increase vaccination coverage across all age groups, using a range of strategies, including broad vaccine mandates like the Biden The government’s requirement for companies with more than 100 employees to have employees vaccinated or tested weekly.
Unfortunately, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit last week upheld an earlier suspension of Biden’s new vaccine mandate. In response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has temporarily suspended enforcement of the rule, which would go into full effect on Jan. 4. The court’s decision was ill-considered and threatens to unnecessarily prolong the pandemic in the United States.
Although nearly 196 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, this number is only 59% of the US population. Despite the ready availability of vaccines in the country for more than six months, 30% of adults are not fully vaccinated. It’s not clear what proportion of the population needs to be vaccinated to receive community immunity, but Belgium currently has one of the world’s highest rates of Covid-19, despite 74% of the population being fully vaccinated. Germany has vaccinated 10% more of its population than the United States, but the seven-day incidence this week reached a record 336.9 cases per 100,000 people, up from 249.1 cases reported last week.
As countries in Europe see an increase in cases, the World Health Organization said it was “very concerned” and noted that, at the current rate, more than 500,000 deaths could be recorded by March. A winter spike in Covid-19 cases was expected as the virus spreads more easily the more time people spend indoors, but the magnitude of this latest wave will be determined by the level of vaccination in the community and we need to do better.
In just 11 months, the US has managed to administer more…