More Superspreader Events Are Coming; Scientists Are Worried

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The rate of new cases of COVID-19 continues to drop and the effort to get back to “normal” has become a race between vaccination on one hand and what many experts believe is a careless effort to reopen the economy on the other. Texas Gov. Gregory Abbott’s decision to drop the mask mandate in his state, the nation’s second largest, is particularly worrisome to those experts who believe vaccination rates need to rise significantly before unmasked public gatherings begin. (This is when Americans can stop wearing face masks according to Dr. Fauci.)

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. currently number 29,293,090. The rate at which they rise on a daily basis has dropped by two-thirds in the past two months. However, this country still accounts for about 25% of all those in the world. The number of fatal cases has reached 530,614, a fifth of the global total.

Happily, the national vaccination rate has been rising steadily over the past three weeks, with about 18% of the population having now received at least one dose, and  just under 10% having gotten two. A total of 93,692,598 of the 123,232,775 doses delivered have been administered thus far. (These are the states where the most people are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.)

One thing that’s causing public health officials high anxiety, however, is the return of so-called superspreader events. The term is used to describe large groups gathering in close quarters without masks and social distancing — conditions under which the virus is almost certain to infect more people.