Story at a glance

  • Data suggest there is a relationship between the number of COVID-19 vaccinations and case rates in certain states.
  • In some situations, states with lower vaccination rates are showing an increase in cases.
  • Only four states with more vaccinations than the national average are seeing increasing case rates.

Data suggest there is a relationship between the number of COVID-19 vaccinations and case rates in certain states — in some situations, states with lower vaccination rates are showing an increase in cases.

A Washington Post analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks down the correlation, and, based on the analysis, only four states with more vaccinations than the national average are seeing increasing case rates — Colorado, Maine, Oregon and Washington. Meanwhile, there are 17 states where more vaccines seem to translate into fewer cases. 

Conversely, the data show an additional 17 states where more cases correspond with fewer vaccinations — 10 from a combination of Southern and rural Western states, including Alabama and Louisiana in the South and Montana and Wyoming out West — where vaccinations rates fall below the national average. 

CDC data shows that roughly 53 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while nearly 44 percent have been fully vaccinated. The CDC numbers fall well-below President Biden’s goal to get 70 percent of American’s a shot by July 4. 

Experts told The Washington Post that vaccinations are the best path forward, and a rise in cases in states with fewer vaccinations could lead to the possibility of an outbreak, as mutations, including the Delta variant first discovered in India, could take over as the dominant strains in the U.S.

“Without the variants, basically the epidemic would be over in the U.S.,” Trevor Bedford, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, told The Post. “The previous non-variant viruses have been dying fairly rapidly.”


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Former Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb told CBS on Sunday that the Delta variant accounts for nearly 10 percent of all new cases in the U.S. 

“It's doubling every two weeks. So it's probably going to become the dominant strain here in the United States,” Gottlieb said. “That doesn't mean that we're going to see a sharp uptick in infections, but it does mean that this is going to take over.”

The variant, which has become the dominant strain in the U.K., has spread to more than 70 countries. 


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Published on Jun 15, 2021