Number of Americans fully vaccinated tops 100 million

Guests walk down Main Street USA at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Friday. The iconic theme park in Southern California that was closed under strict virus rules swung open its gates Friday and some visitors walked in cheering and screaming with happiness.

DALLAS

Disneyland reopened on Friday and cruise lines welcomed the news that they could be sailing again in the United States by midsummer, as the number of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 reached another milestone: 100 million.

Visitors cheered and screamed with delight as the Southern California theme park swung open its gates for the first time in 13 months in a powerful symbol of the U.S. rebound, even though the self-proclaimed Happiest Place on Earth is allowing only in-state guests for now and operating at just 25 percent capacity.

The reopening and similar steps elsewhere around the country reflect increasing optimism as numbers of COVID-19-related deaths tumble and the ranks of the vaccinated grow — a stark contrast to the worsening disaster in India and Brazil and the scant availability of vaccines in many poor parts of the world.

In fact, the United States announced Friday it will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday, citing the devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus.

While the overall number of lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States has eclipsed 575,000, deaths have plummeted to an average of about 670 per day from a daily peak of around 3,400 in mid-January.

Thirty-nine percent of the nation’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 55 percent of adults have received at least one dose, up from 30 percent a month ago.

However, about 8 percent of those who have gotten one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine have not returned for their second shot, officials said. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said it is important to complete the course to gain maximum protection against the virus.

“Make sure you get that second dose,” he said at a White House briefing.

Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner and a visiting professor of health policy at George Washington University, said fully vaccinating about 40 percent of American adults is a great achievement but not enough.

“The hardest part is ahead of us,” she said. “I’m very concerned that we are not going to come anywhere close to reaching herd immunity in 2021.”

Wen noted that Fauci has estimated 70 percent to 85 percent of the U.S. population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

The immunization drive has slowed in recent weeks, even as shots have been thrown open to all adults. Wen said better weather and falling case counts will make it harder to reach people who have not been vaccinated yet.

“Those people who are on the fence about getting a vaccine may have less reason to get one now because they don’t see coronavirus as an existential crisis anymore,” she said.

CDC officials also reported Friday that it was anxiety — not a problem with the shots — that caused fainting, dizziness and other reactions reported in 64 people at vaccine clinics in five states in early April. None got seriously ill.

Cruise lines, meanwhile, cheered the news that the CDC is committed to resuming sailing in the United States by midsummer and is adjusting some of the rules to speed the process.

The CDC said in a letter to the industry this week that it will let ships cruise without going through practice trips first if 98 percent of the crew and 95 percent of the passengers are fully vaccinated.

“The voices of community leaders and the wider cruise community are being heard — and we are very grateful for that,” said Laziza Lambert, spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association.

U.S. cruises have been shut down by the pandemic since March 2020.

In other travel news, the Transportation Security Administration extended a requirement that passengers on planes, trains and buses wear masks. The rule was set to expire May 11 but will now run through Sept. 13.

Airlines and their unions had pushed for an extension, saying masks help keep passengers and workers safe.

In Michigan, which in recent weeks became the worst hot spot in the United States, the numbers are finally showing improvement, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan to tie the lifting of restrictions to the state’s vaccination rate.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he expects to see preventive measures lifted and the city “fully reopen” by July 1.

“We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” he said on MSNBC.

But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has maintained throughout the crisis that such decisions are his alone, and he said Thursday he would like to end restrictions even sooner.

“I don’t want to wait that long. I think if we do what we have to do, we can be reopened earlier,” he said.

Cuomo said on Friday that New York City can increase indoor dining to 75 percent of capacity starting May 7.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(4) comments

Bailey Jones

That is an awesome milestone, this vaccine rollout has been phenomenal - it's hard to imagine 100,000,000 of anything. But it's still only about 30% of the population. Cases and deaths are down, and falling, but still not below the levels of last fall, between the summer surge and the holiday surge.

I suspect that a hard-core 30% of Americans will simply refuse to ever get vaccinated. So we need 100% of the rest of us to step up and finish the job - or we'll never get rid of this virus.

Wayne D Holt

Bailey, you speak as if you believe the vaccinations impart immunity from contracting Covid. Please tell me you aren't trafficking that falsehood.

The protocols for these vaccines since last year only claim to lessen the severity of mild to moderate Covid symptoms. They do not shield anyone from contracting it, nor do they help if the infection is severe. What they will do is hijack your cellular machinery to manufacture proteins that mimic Covid-Sars infection agents in ways that are completely unknown to us in long-term effect.

The 30% may be near the high water mark as the rate of vaccination is going flat. More people than ever understand that to risk this experimental trial to lessen the symptoms of a disease with an overall fatality rate of about <1.5% simply doesn't make sense.

“I want to put an end to all the rumors. I want to show people that there is no danger in getting vaccinated. On the contrary, it will protect us. And it is not like this vaccination will completely prevent us from getting Covid-19 infection. After the vaccination, even if we catch the virus, there won’t be death. So after vaccination, we should still follow the safety guidelines.” That was the very hopeful statement of Vivekh, India's Public Health Ambassador. On April 17, one day after taking the Covid shot, he was dead of cardiac arrest, which is the leading cause of vaccine-related death. https://greatgameindia.com/india-health-ambassador-vivek-dies-vaccine/

I suspect a hardcore 30% of the population is about all that will be suckered into becoming an unpaid guinea pig for Big Pharma and the CDC, its wholly owned subsidiary.

Ted Gillis

If the vaccine keeps me out of the ICU Wayne, I’ll take it.

Wayne D Holt

Fair enough, Ted. I respect anyone's freedom of choice and the voluntary use of Covid immunizations, mask mandates, etc. As long as I am not put in a position of being forced to share someone's health decisions, I am all for it.

Just as an aside: the point I was making is that you may wind up in ICU--or the morgue--if you take the shot, as the data clearly suggests. So this is not a slam dunk choice by any means. I wish you good health whatever you decide.

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