The Transylvania Times -

Good News On Two Fronts

 

Last updated 4/7/2021 at 3:18pm



Americans received more good news on the COVID-19 and employment fronts this past week.

On Tuesday President Biden announced that all American adults will be eligible to receive a vaccination beginning April 19. Biden’s previous deadline had been May 1. Over the past several weeks, the number of vaccines administered has increased from less than 1 million per day to more than 4 million this past Saturday. As of Monday, the United States led the world with the number of vaccines administered – 165 million. China, with 140 million shots, was second.

According to CBS News, approximately 23 percent of American adults are fully vaccinated and 40 percent have received at least one dose. North Carolina’s figures are similar, with 26 percent of adults fully vaccinated and 39 percent having received one dose.

Those in one of the most vulnerable demographics – age 65 and older – have much higher rates of vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 55 percent of Americans 65 or older are fully vaccinated and 75 percent have received one shot. In North Carolina, 65 percent in this age group have been fully vaccinated and 73 percent have been partially vaccinated. Since Americans in this demographic are more likely to succumb to the coronavirus, it is no surprise the rate of deaths has been slowing down in the country and state.

With more people being vaccinated and the rate of deaths on the decline, more businesses are opening at greater capacity. As a result, employment is beginning to increase. In February, the economy added 379,000 jobs. Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment rose 916,000 in March, dropping the unemployment rate from 6.2 to 6.0 percent. The March numbers were the highest since last summer.

Much of that job growth came in construction and leisure and hospitality. The unemployment rate for workers without a high school degree dropped from 10.1 percent to 8.2 percent. That is significant since this group is the one that has been most affected by layoffs related to COVID-19.

While these numbers are trending in the right direction, we still have a long way before achieving herd immunity or the economy returning to its pre-pandemic status. This past Monday, Transylvania Public Health released alerts stating that “Everyone can make a COVID vaccine appointment starting at 3 p.m. today.” As of yesterday, any North Carolinian age 16 or older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Since the newest COVID-19 cases and outbreaks seem to be occurring among younger people, it is important that those 16 and older become vaccinated. It is in their own self-interest to be vaccinated not only for their health, but also to make money. The fewer COVID-19 cases there are, the more comfortable people feel eating at restaurants and ice cream parlors and going to movie theaters or amusement parks – places that often hire teenagers and college students over the summer.

If, as a nation, we can average 4 million doses administered per day until the beginning of summer, then 280 million more vaccinations would have been administered. Then we could have a relatively healthy and prosperous summer, and by fall we could possibly see a full slate of activities for people of all ages.

 
 

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