Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging in Pennsylvania, as state officials warn of trends seen across the country: increased travel levels, relaxing restrictions and the spread of more contagious virus variants.
Pennsylvania is reporting an average of 4,922 cases a day, up from roughly 2,515 a month ago, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations have also climbed about 16 percent in the past two weeks, and the state now has one of the highest per capita daily case counts in the country. Deaths, which tend to lag behind infections by weeks, have started to slightly increase again after plunging from the state’s high of an average of 222 in mid-January. Deaths now average about 37 a day.
State and national health officials are also worried about the spread of more contagious virus variants, particularly the B.1.1.7 variant first found in Britain. That variant is currently estimated to be about 60 percent more contagious and 67 percent more deadly than the original version.
B.1.1.7 is now the most common source of new coronavirus infections in the United States. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 28 percent of Pennsylvania’s cases involve that variant, and it is spreading in a vast majority of two dozen other states with high caseloads. In Michigan, more than 57 percent of cases involve B.1.1.7; in Tennessee, the figure is over 60 percent.
opened up eligibility to all adults on Tuesday.
according to data from the C.D.C. Nationally, 38 percent of the population has received at least one shot, and 24 percent have been fully vaccinated.
But many health officials have warned about the lingering challenge of persuading all eligible people to get vaccinated. For instance, in one Pennsylvania county, a hospital set up a drive-through in a park stocked with roughly 1,000 vaccine doses. Only about 300 people showed up. In Iowa, a rural clinic called people who had volunteered to give shots to tell them not to come in because so few residents had signed up for appointments.
The New York Times examined survey and vaccine administration data for nearly every U.S. county and found that both willingness to receive a vaccine and actual vaccination rates to date were lower, on average, in counties where a majority of residents voted to re-elect President Donald J. Trump in 2020. The phenomenon has left some places with a shortage of supply and others with a glut.