“Two factors, however, can slow or even reverse the declines that have begun,” the IHME team said.
The second factor, according to the IHME team, is “increased behaviors that favor COVID-19 transmission.”
On Friday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state rolled back Covid-19 restrictions on youth sports, allowing parents or guardians of young athletes to attend. On the same day, Maine’s governor issued an executive order expanding gathering limits for houses of worship.
‘One step closer to winning the war against COVID’
Despite the concerns that remain, officials are hopeful that as vaccinations continue ramping up, they’ll begin making their mark on the pandemic’s course.
“Our vaccine supply is going up, the positivity rate is going down and we’re getting one step closer to winning the war against COVID each day,” Cuomo said in a statement, referring to New York’s vaccinations.
The state has so far administered 90% of the first dose vaccines it’s received from the federal government and more than 80% of first and second doses, the governor said.
In California, officials announced millions of people will be added to the vaccination priority list, including residents “at high risk with developmental and other disabilities” and residents with serious underlying health conditions. The plan, which will begin mid-March, broadens the ages from 65 and older to ages 16 through 64 who are in those categories.
In some states, people with underlying health conditions are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.
In states where they are, there is variation in what conditions make someone eligible and what is required to confirm that condition. And where those groups are eligible for a vaccine, counties may have different timelines in how quickly those groups are getting vaccinated.
A new challenge over the weekend
Meanwhile, some parts of the US face another challenge that’s slowing down vaccinations: weather.
Federal officials expect Covid-19 vaccine shipments to Texas will be delayed this week because of a powerful winter storm, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief W. Nim Kidd said.
“Our vaccines that are set to arrive on Sunday, Monday will probably not arrive until Wednesday, Thursday, so we will see delays in vaccine coming into the state,” Kidd said.
Some local outdoor vaccination facilities also shut down ahead of the storm, the chief added.
“Indoor vaccination administration, as long as it is still safe to drive there, will continue,” Kidd said.
How CDC recommends you travel
Meanwhile, as officials continue to track both ongoing vaccinations and the spread of variants, there have been questions about whether there could be changes coming to travel-related requirements.
“At this time, CDC is not recommending required point of departure testing for domestic travel,” according to the CDC statement. “As part of our close monitoring of the pandemic, in particular the continued spread of variants, we will continue to review public health options for containing and mitigating spread of COVID-19 in the travel space.”
The CDC also added it does not recommend travel at this time.
“If someone must travel, they should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before the trip,” the agency said. “After travel, getting tested with a viral test 3-5 days post-travel and staying home and self-quarantining for 7 days, even if test results are negative, is a recommended public health measure to reduce risk.”
“It is not a good idea to travel, period,” Fauci has said. “If you absolutely have to travel and it’s essential then obviously, one would have to do that. But we don’t want people to think because they got vaccinated then other public health recommendations just don’t apply.”
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Lauren Mascarenhas, Elizabeth Cohen, Melissa Alonso Rebekah Riess, Hollie Silverman, Stephanie Becker, Cheri Mossburg, Kristina Sgueglia and Evan Simko-Bednarski contributed to this report.