Despite a rapid vaccine drive, the US is still reeling from the pandemic
The US has met most of its vaccination goals within the administration’s time frame, but the economy is still suffering and cities still haven’t come back to life.
The US made history as the country with the most Covid-19-related deaths and the highest vaccination rate. When I look at the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the US has to date 32 million cases and almost 600,000 deaths.
With an average of 52,000 new cases per day, the pandemic still has not been overcome in the country. The Covid-19 variant, known as B.1.1.7, which first appeared in England last autumn, has been detected in 50 states and Washington DC.
There is an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the 18–24 age group, some of the reasons could be the early easing of measures in some states, and the emergence of more contagious and deadly variants of the coronavirus.
There is a clear conflict between the Biden administration and some Republican governors over measures. Twenty-five state governments currently require people to wear face coverings in most public settings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
President Biden has been quite successful in fighting Covid-19, especially when it comes to vaccine distribution and execution. While an average of 2.4 million doses of vaccines are administered daily, 45 percent of adults have already received their first dose and 32.8 percent have been fully vaccinated.
President Biden says the goal of 200 Million Covid-19 Vaccinations in 100 Days has been met. That’s an outstanding success for the Biden administration. Vaccines can be had by appointment in several places, from stores near houses to vaccination tents set up in specific parking lots. I had my two doses last month and have had no side effects so far. I hear many Turks who have valid visas coming to the US to get their vaccine for free since there is a 17 day lock-down in Turkey.
Vaccines developed by Pfizer-BionTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are being distributed across all US states. However, the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily suspended the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson after cases of blood clots were observed in some patients.
So far, 8.5 million doses of the single-shot J&J vaccine have been administered throughout the country, and very few cases of side effects have been recorded. However, in the context of rapid vaccine deployment, the short suspension of the J&J vaccine distribution did not impact the deployment rate in general.
On the other hand, the latest surveys show that one in four Americans do not want to get vaccinated or would like to wait to be vaccinated. For this reason, the Biden administration is making efforts to promote vaccination as much as possible.
Some states are giving incentives like the state of Maryland, which will pay $100 to state employees who are fully vaccinated. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell emphasises that the economy is going to recover after the vaccination drive. In addition, the Biden administration is backing a waiver of intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines in an attempt to speed the end of the pandemic.
While the Biden administration is focused on vaccinations, the capital of the US, Washington DC still resembles a ghost town. You will hardly encounter anybody on the streets, and businesses lack vitality.
While the unemployment rate in the capital has been reported as 8.1 percent, the mayor’s office has said that the state of emergency has been extended until May 20. While 36,000 citizens in Washington DC have lost their jobs since December 2020, the unemployment rate increased by 77 percent compared to last year, and a total of 375 retail stores went bankrupt.
In the year prior to the pandemic, 24.6 million tourists spent $8.2 billion in the city, providing a tax revenue of $896 million. Between December 2019 and December 2020, the dining, accommodation, and entertainment sectors in Washington DC lost 52 percent of their workers, corresponding to 41,600 people.
The number of people employed only by hotels in the area has decreased to 9,700 people during the pandemic. The economic loss caused by canceled conferences amounts to $370 million. And even with the deployment of vaccines and the relief observed in the pandemic, 23 large conventions that were planned for this year in the city were canceled. This means the cancellation of more than 319,000 room reservations and an economic loss of $216 million.
Of course it is not only the capital of the US, but several parts of the world that have lost their charm thanks to the pandemic, despite even the most successful vaccination campaigns.