The United States is making progress in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Cases are dropping to levels not seen since last fall. Hospitalizations and deaths are also falling.
Health experts say vaccines are largely to thank, as 40% of American adults are now fully vaccinated. But CDC guidance over mask wearing continues to confuse cities and state officials across the country, as well as some health experts.
"You are very well immune, and you no longer need masks in public,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a Professor of Medicine at George Washington University. “You can go into places without masks and it's time for the CDC to start embracing this kind of bifurcated strategy."
The national average daily case count just fell below 50,000 for the first time since October 2020.
"Right now, the gains that we're seeing across the country are locked in,” said Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. “And I think in the coming weeks we're going to see an acceleration in the decline in cases. And one of the big reasons is vaccination."
But that pace is slowing. By percentage of population vaccinated, the top three performing states Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut, are all in the Northeast. The worst performing states mainly in the south and include Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.
"Herd immunity is going to be challenging any way you cut or slice it," said Dr. Jay Varkey, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University.
But even 50% to 55% vaccinated can be game changing.
"You really see case numbers plummet, so we may not get to zero,” said Dr. Ashish Jha. Dean with Brown University School of Public Health. “We probably won't, but it we can get infections under very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives in normal ways, I think we can probably live with that."