The Journal Gazette
Monday, March 29, 2021 1:00 am

Virus fight stalls in early US hotspots


ALBANY, N.Y. – A year after becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York and New Jersey are back atop the list of U.S. states with the highest rates of infection.

Even as the vaccination campaign has ramped up, the number of new infections in New Jersey has crept up by 37% in a little more than a month. The two states now rank No. 1 and 2 in new infections per capita among U.S. states.

The U.S. is averaging nearly 62,000 cases a day, up from 54,000 two weeks ago.

Asked Sunday what's going wrong in the U.S. as cases rise, President Joe Biden told reporters: “Based on what I'm hearing, apparently people are letting their guard down.” Biden said he hopes to have a better sense of the situation after a meeting with his White House pandemic team today.

Neither New York nor New Jersey is experiencing anything like what they saw last spring, when hospitals – and morgues – were overflowing. And like the rest of the country, both are in a much better place than in January, at the peak of the pandemic's winter spike.

However, “When we're seeing leveling off of cases or increase, that's when it's a time to rethink policies,” said Roy Gulick, chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College.

New York and New Jersey's governors have recently allowed restaurants, sporting events, movie theaters and other attractions to resume, although at reduced capacity. That's happened in other parts of the country, too.

Although vaccines lessen the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, scientists are still studying how well they prevent the spread of the virus.

“To give the message to the public that we're over the worst and that we can go back to normal is a mistake,” said Bruce Farber, chief of public health and epidemiology for Northwell Health in New Jersey.


Indiana reports 955 new cases

The Indiana Department of Health added 955 COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing to 684,020 the number of Hoosiers known to have had the coronavirus.

To date, 12,617 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 12 from the previous day. Another 406 probable deaths have been reported.

As of today, 2,685,575 vaccine doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 1,602,873 first doses and 1,082,702 individuals who are fully vaccinated.

Another 65 Allen County residents tested positive for COVID-19, with 34 confirmed PCR cases and 31 probable antigen cases, bringing the total to 37,687 cases and 658 deaths Sunday, according to the Allen County Department of Health. The Allen County case count now includes a total of 13,937 probable cases from antigen tests reported since July 28.

– Journal Gazette

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