But the loosening of restrictions comes as new Covid-19 vaccination rates decline from spring highs, leaving some areas vulnerable to potential pandemic hotspots and jeopardizing the country’s progress.
As of Friday, the country was administering an average of just over one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine per day over the past week, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And while CDC data shows this is an increase of almost 14% from the previous week, vaccination rates remain below the peak average of 3.3 million per day in early April.
Almost 64% of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and about 54% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. Still, the Biden administration’s goal of having 70% of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4 is expected to fail.
Inaccessibility of vaccines due to socio-economic barriers is a concern among state and health officials, and recent data suggests that the uneven number of vaccinations across the country is not strictly limited to geography. .
Blacks and Hispanics remain under-represented among those vaccinated in the United States, according to Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Wednesday.
Among the 41 states that report racial and ethnic data on people vaccinated, the share of whites who received at least one dose is about 1.4 times the share of blacks vaccinated and about 1.3 times the share of those vaccinated. Hispanics, according to the study.
“As observed in previous weeks, blacks and Hispanics received smaller shares of vaccinations relative to their shares of cases and relative to their shares of the total population in most states,” according to the analysis .
Over the past two weeks, however, progress has been noted, with the vaccination percentages of Hispanics and blacks increasing, according to KFF.
Variants pose a risk to the unvaccinated
Experts have warned that a variant of the coronavirus first identified in India and now growing in importance in the UK – the Delta variant, or B.1.617.2 – could pose considerable danger to those who do not are not vaccinated.
Another variant – the Alpha variant, or B.1.1.7 – became the most common strain of the coronavirus in the country in the first four months of this year, according to a CDC study.
“This rapid expansion is consistent with a model-based prediction that B.1.1.7 could become a predominant variant,” the CDC researchers wrote.
The good news is that two doses of Pfizer / BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine appear to offer good protection against some of the disturbing new variants in circulation, including the Delta variant, other researchers reported this week in the journal Nature.
“New variants will continue to emerge as the pandemic persists,” the researchers said, adding that there was no evidence that the variants have largely escaped such vaccine protections.
“Therefore, increasing the proportion of the population immunized with current safe and effective licensed vaccines remains a key strategy to minimize the emergence of new variants and end the Covid-19 pandemic. “
Summer reopening continues
Chicago became the largest U.S. city to fully reopen on Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
This move allows businesses to operate without guidance from Covid-19.
“Which means capacity limits are gone, mask warrants aren’t mandatory, and social distancing requirements have been lifted,” Lightfoot said.
Masks remain mandatory in some places in accordance with federal guidelines, including on public transport and in health facilities, schools, shelters and correctional facilities, the mayor said. She also encouraged those who are not vaccinated to wear masks.
Lightfoot told CNN on Friday that “the economy is on the verge of a strong comeback” with the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in the city.
In California, fully vaccinated workers do not need to wear face covers or practice social distancing in the workplace – even if other people in the same room are not vaccinated, the Occupational recommended on Friday. State Safety and Health Standards Board in a new set of revised workplace safety measures.
The council had initially considered allowing workers to go to the workplace without masks if everyone in the room was fully immunized. But following the refusal of companies and workers, those rules were withdrawn five days later.
The board expects to vote on the new set of recommended revisions on June 17. Until these new standards are officially adopted, masks are still required.
California, which is slated to reopen fully on June 15, has abandoned its stay-at-home order and will begin rescinding most executive orders related to the pandemic, officials said.
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Alexandra Meeks and Ryan Prior contributed to this report.