Rise in COVID Cases

Just last week, the United States reached a world record in COVID Cases, reaching over 1 million. According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country reported 1,082,549 COVID-19 cases. While that number may seem extreme, there is a reasonable explanation for all of it.  

The single-day figure was partly due to lag in the reporting due to the long holiday weekend; local health authorities often wait until after weekends or holidays to report positive tests. However, the country was still reaching a record high. Its seven-day average as of December 27, 2021, was 480,273 cases, the highest it has been since the pandemic began, according to John Hopkins data.  

The rise in cases comes during a surge in the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, which is thought to be the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. New research suggests the variant has a less effective way of attacking lung cells than prior variants and therefore may be less severe in humans. However, 1,000 of Americans have died from COVID every day, and the number continues growing.  

There are multiple reasons why cases keep increasing. For one, vaccine coverage is not high enough to reach absolutely everyone. Canada is among the top countries in the world when it comes to vaccine coverage, but those numbers are calculated only among people who are eligible for the booster. That excludes the almost 5 million Canadians under age 12 who are too young to be vaccinated and when children are added to the mix, our coverage rates look less and less optimistic. Even if you can get the vaccine, they are not 100% effective due to the rise in new variants, which causes an increase in breakthrough infections. However, it is still especially important to get vaccinated because people who are unvaccinated are still at the highest risk of getting COVID.  

People also refuse to see COVID-19 as a real threat. A large reason for this is because of politicians like Donald Trump, who commonly claims that the coronavirus is not a big deal and journalists and Democrats have exaggerated the risk. There are also young people who do not think COVID will affect them because of their age. Polls show that both groups tend to be less likely to be vaccinated. They are also the same people who spent the last year rejecting lockdowns and mask mandates, seeing them as unnecessary and violations of their civil liberties.  

We have also seen a rise in concern over vaccine side effects. These concerns can be about something like the one-to-two-day fever that you get after receiving the vaccine, or about things that have not been proven, for example infertility. The reason the concern is so high is because of the widespread media coverage about the vaccine. For example, receiving a blood clot due to the vaccine is extremely rare, only being found in 28 of 8.7 million people (about half the population of New York) who got the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, and they have not been found in anyone who got the Moderna, or Pfizer shot. However, because of how widespread misinformation about the vaccine is, people tend to focus on the negative attributes rather than the multitude of positives.  

While the spread of misinformation is rampant, the COVID-19 vaccine is incredibly efficient in saving lives. Though the cases in COVID continue to rise, people still refuse to get the Vaccine. The biggest question is why, and what people can do to help the lives of people who have been devastated by COVID.