A map illustrating the risk of COVID-19 in countries around the world from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the United States to be one of the most perilous places to visit amid the pandemic.
The map shows the risk of contracting the virus in each country and classifies the regions with the available data into four categories: low, moderate, high and very high risk. The CDC makes each determination primarily by calculating the infection rate and trajectory of new cases over the past 28 days.
The United States has a “very high” Level 4 designation as the Delta variant continues to sweep the country, but so do a vast expanse of other localities spanning a variety of income levels, availability of resources. vaccines and public health systems.
For example, Somalia also has a Level 4 designation, but only 0.07% of its total population is fully vaccinated, according to the global vaccine tracker Our World in Data, compared to the United States, which has about 53, 6% of all people fully vaccinated, CDC figures show.
Mexico, on the other hand, is a Level 3 designation but has about half of the inoculation levels of the United States.
“If you look at countries that are at level four, there is a wide variety of country types, you have countries in Western Europe, you have South America, you have Africa, it’s not just high income countries are not just low and middle income countries, it’s really a complicated equation to sort that out, ”said Dr Isaac Weisfuse, Cornell University Public Health medical epidemiologist and former commissioner Deputy of the New York City Department of Health.
« [This map is] telling us that there are many factors that go into the spread of the virus, including behavior, variants, population density, [climate, testing] and there are probably some issues that we just don’t know about.
He noted that some countries with low risk designations might test less and the CDC can only calculate risk designations based on available data.
Given the abundance of doses available in the United States and the ease now available to Americans across the country to access them, Dr Wafaa El-Sadr of Columbia University said reluctance to vaccination is what keeps the United States at a Level 4 designation – but it plays a role elsewhere, too.
“People think that reluctance to immunize is only seen in resource-rich countries, but it is alive and well elsewhere,” said the epidemiologist, pointing to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Iran, which also have Level 4 designations.
Yet access to vaccines continues to be a problem in the developing world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and a lot of work needs to be done to bridge the gap, El-Sadr said.
“These vaccines can be a game changer, they can be our way to leave this epidemic behind us, both in this country and around the world, but it means we have to make enough vaccines for ourselves and the rest of the world,” she declared. “And we have to work very hard to get people to get vaccinated and get vaccinated as soon as possible. ”