We’re (No Longer) #1

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Photo by NIAID-RML.

According to Johns Hopkins data, Brazil has had more than 70 thousand active cases of COVID-19 since March 3. The United States, on the other hand, has been below 70 thousand across that interval. For the first time in almost a year, the United States no longer leads the world in active cases.

It’s always difficult to do a quantitative analysis on large groups. Too many factors are involved to produce definitive results. In this case, however, there are unusual circumstances; nearly all of the original values remain roughly in place (the same amount of people have been taking the same precautions for the past few months) with one significant new factor being introduced: vaccinations.

The other variables which have developed are likely to increase the caseload, not decrease it: new variants with greater time spans for potential infection and greater chances for re-infection. The vaccine rollout has been successful to date, and promises to continue to be so.

Brazil, meanwhile, after initially agreeing to be a trial site for mass distribution of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, balked. Evidence is now being presented to Brazilians that the US, under Donald Trump, actively pressured Brazil not to accept the Russian vaccine and to purchase from American companies instead. When the manufacture of new vaccine was directed to domestic consumption instead of foreign use, Brazil was left waiting for a deal which was not going to come.

The revelations of US intervention has only recently been released to Brazil; it was covered today in the Brazilian Report. How widely the information will be disseminated and what effects it may have on future relations between the two countries is uncertain. Brazil closed a deal for 10 million doses of Sputnik V on Friday, after reaching a deal for 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine on March 3. The Pfizer vaccine has been determined to be highly effective against the more-infectious variant originating in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the United States is in a position to continue to see its caseload drop, if it simply maintains existing precautions while the vaccine rollout takes place.

That isn’t happening.

While the shift in Texas from masks being mandatory to voluntary occupied the attention of the country for days, over the last two weeks the same thinking decried by President Biden as “Neanderthal” has been demonstrated by Connecticut, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, Mississippi, Chicago, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York and other states and large cities. All of the places mentioned and many more have loosened restrictions on indoor dining and indoor gatherings.

We’re no longer #1. But we may reach that status again if we relax our guard too quickly, and there are indications we may be in the process of doing exactly that.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.