America has come a long way in its battle against COVID-19 since January. Much of the country has come out of lockdown and economic activity is looking up. Much of that progress is down to the rapid vaccine rollout. However, in recent weeks, it’s beginning to become clear the country’s progress is starting to reverse.
And a new map from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reveals where things are getting bad again. The map showcases trends in confirmed new cases of COVID-19 over a seven-day moving average across the 50 states, Washington D.C, and Puerto Rico. States in any shade of green are trending in the right direction (the darker the shade of green the better), and states in any shade of orange are trending in the wrong direction (the darker the shade of orange, the more COVID-19 cases over the past seven days).
The bad news is the overall map is trending orange, which means COVID-19 cases are rising across the country—with some states seeing highly alarming rises. The reason for the rise in infections? Blame easing lockdowns, combined with the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, as well as slowing rates of vaccination in certain states.
As a matter of fact, the Johns Hopkins map corresponds well to the findings from researchers at Georgetown University. As CNN reports, those findings show clusters of rising cases across eight states are due to low vaccination rates. These include areas of Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. And as CNN notes, “Those vulnerable clusters put all of the United States — and to some extent, the world — at risk for going back to 2020, since high-transmission areas can become breeding grounds for Covid-19 variants that could go on to evade Covid-19 vaccines.”
So how can you help reverse this trend? Regardless of loosening restrictions in your area, keep wearing a mask, keep social distancing, get fully vaccinated, and encourage those who are hesitant to get vaccinated to do so. But keep in mind, belittling or shaming the vaccine-hesitant isn’t helpful. Instead, this Healthline article has great advice on how to encourage your friends and family to get the jab.