The number of new coronavirus cases is in steep decline, both in the U.S. and the UK. Here at home, the number of new reported cases per day is below 100,000 — down from almost three times that many early in the year. The daily number of new cases is about what it was in mid-to-late October, before the weather got cold. (All numbers cited are from Worldometer.)
Unfortunately, the number of deaths per day attributed to the virus hasn’t declined as sharply. New deaths are averaging a little below 3,000, down from a peak of more than 4,000 in mid-January. The current number is comparable to that of mid-November. Deaths, of course, are a lagging indicator compared to new infections.
The picture in the UK, which got off to a fast start on vaccinations, is similar. New cases are down quite dramatically — from a peak of around 60,000 per day early in the year to less than 15,000 per day now. As in the U.S., the daily number of new cases is about at October levels.
Deaths per day attributed to the virus are also way down in the UK. In mid-January, the UK was reporting more than 1,500 deaths most days. Now, the number is around 500.
Much of the rest of Europe got off to a slow start on vaccinations and continues to lag. What do their new case and deaths per day numbers look like?
In France, the number of new cases per day is around 25,000, and has been throughout the new year. The same is true of deaths attributed to the virus. That number has held steady at around 500 all year.
The east of France has been plagued by new variants of the virus that are thought to be more contagious than the original version. However, this is also true in the UK. Yet, new cases have declined dramatically there.
In Italy there has been some decline in new cases and deaths per day since the start of the new year, but the decreases have not been sharp (from around 20,000 cases to around 15,000 and from around 500 to 400 deaths). The same is basically true of Belgium and the Netherlands. Spain, though, has seen fairly significant declines.
It looks, then, like the ability of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson to get quick approval and distribution of vaccines is making a big difference. It is saving lives. And, of course, Trump deserves credit for facilitating the development of the vaccines.
Joe Biden hopes to get credit for what may well be a major coronavirus success story in the U.S. He claims:
Just over four weeks ago, America had no real plan to vaccinate most of the country. My predecessor, as my mother would say, ‘failed to order enough vaccines,’ failed to mobilize the effort to administer the shots… That changed the moment we took office.
It is those vaccinations that currently are preventing new infections. Most of the doses administered since Biden took office haven’t had time to confer a high level of immunity.
But for the Trump administration’s ability to move quickly, we wouldn’t be experiencing the kind of improved numbers cited above. Our rate of improvement might well be small to negligible — like France’s.