Million Dollar Sweepstakes and College Scholarships; gift beers, donuts and marijuana; Free Uber races to go to pharmacies. The United States authorities no longer know what else to do to ensure that the vaccination rhythm does not get stuck with that population group that, due to neglect or suspicion, has not yet come for its puncture while the covid-19 figures they sprout. The number of new cases climbed 70% last week compared to the previous one, raising the daily average from 15,500 to 26,300 positives. Meanwhile, less than half of the citizens (although 59% of the adults) have the complete inoculation.
A frustrated President Joe Biden on Friday demanded that social media stop the anti-vaccine hoaxes: “They are killing people,” he said. This Monday, he clarified: “Facebook is not killing people. There are a dozen people out there giving false information. That is killing people ”. The country suffers, as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said, “the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
It is a pandemic that causes fewer deaths than a year ago, but it generates enormous confusion and exhibits great inequality by territory. Four states – Florida, Texas, California and Missouri – account for more than 40% of new cases, according to White House task force coordinator Jeffrey Zients. 99.5% of the people hospitalized for the virus did not have the vaccine. Access to injections could not be easier in the country, to which, in fact, many foreign citizens travel to obtain them, but after a few months of rapid expansion the rate of inoculations has plummeted: from 3.4 million daily doses in mid-April to 421,000 during the first week of July.
Within the large numbers, each state is a galaxy. If in places like Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine or Rhode Island more than 70% of adults have already received both doses, in Missouri 49.7% have; in Texas, 53.9%; in Florida, 57%, and in Arkansas, 44.3%. California has administered the complete guideline to 62.5% of its adults, but it is the most populous territory in the country, with almost 40 million inhabitants. In relative terms, red lanterns are lit in Arkansas, Missouri, Florida or Nevada, which have about 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per day, compared to the national average of eight cases, with the new Delta variant as predominant.
The rejection or adherence to the vaccine exhibits, like so many issues in the United States, a great political division. A media poll The Washington Post-ABC News published at the beginning of July indicated that 47% of the Republicans consulted did not plan to be vaccinated, compared to 6% in the case of Democrats. Part of this gap has to do with the type of territory, more rural and less dense, where the conservative vote is concentrated, which feels less fear of contagion. Another is due to mistrust in institutions. In general, the population as a whole feels less fear than at the beginning of the pandemic. The Joe Biden Administration is also concerned about misinformation and that has opened a front with the big platforms.
Hoaxes in the hands of 12 people
The spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, has criticized that Facebook and other platforms do not do everything possible to curb falsehoods about the side effects of covid-19 vaccines and pointed to China and Russia as the origin of much of the hoaxes that run through the networks. According to Psaki, “around 12 people are producing 65% of the fraudulent information against vaccines on social media platforms.”
The general medical adviser of the United States, Vivek Murthy, redoubled the criticism on Sunday. In an interview on the Fox network, he said: “The reality is that disinformation is spreading in our country like an uncontrolled fire, aided and incited by social networks.” Two days earlier, on Friday afternoon, is when Biden said about Facebook and the rest of the technology companies that “they are killing people” that provoked the response from Mark Zuckerberg’s company. Facebook published a statement explaining all its actions to promote vaccination and rejecting responsibility for the breach of the president’s objective, which was to ensure that 70% of the adult population had received at least one dose by July 4.
Meanwhile, some states are reimposing restrictions. Los Angeles County, the most populous in the entire United States, once again imposed the mask indoors since midnight last Saturday, regardless of whether or not people have been vaccinated against covid-19, given the unstoppable advance of the coronavirus , especially the delta variant, reports Luis Pablo Beauregard. Chicago, the most populous city in Illinois, for its part, has established limitations for travelers from Arkansas and Missouri, who are asked for a negative covid test or quarantine to enter.