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This Week in Illness, April 2

This Week in Illness aggregates insights from Kinsa's network of smart thermometers and major headlines from across the country to bring you up to speed. Get your insights at a glance.

April 2, 2021  ||  by matt albasi

A roller-coaster week of news and data as COVID-19 cases continued to climb upward and vaccinations continued forward. In Kinsa’s data, influenza-like illnesses (ILI) continued to rise. Long-duration fevers (LDF) showed only a slight uptick, and the rate of transmission (Rt) stuck around one. Regionally, Michigan and New Jersey fared the worst in case numbers. Pfizer announced new study results, and the CDC issued new travel guidance for vaccinated individuals.

Cases Climb to Near Summer Peaks

The national two-week average of cases continued to climb this week and reached about 66k cases per day. For comparison, the top of the summer peak was about 70k in July. Hospitalizations declined, but the rate slowed dramatically to only 5% from 17% last week. Since hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators, we expect this number to rise in line with cases beginning in the next two weeks. 

Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest See Growing Case Numbers

Michigan and New Jersey saw some of the most significant case gains this week. Michigan reached an average of nearly 6,000 cases per day, approaching their winter peak. Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing. New Jersey increased their average daily cases to around 4,500, and hospitalizations grew slower while deaths are still down.

CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Travel, With Precautions And New Tests Approved 

The CDC issued new guidelines for vaccinated individuals looking to travel. While they warn it is still a risk, they say people who are fully vaccinated can travel. Remember, an individual isn’t fully immunized until two weeks after their second dose or two weeks after the only dose of the J&J vaccine. After that, CDC says a vaccinated individual no longer needs to self-quarantine after travel. They also removed the recommendation to get tested before your trip. However, they still recommend getting tested 3-5 days after your arrival, and continue to take precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing. This week, the FDA approved rapid at-home COVID-19 tests without a prescription.

Vaccine Hesitancy Low and The Vaccine Machine Continues onward

The most recent numbers from KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor show vaccine hesitancy is declining. While around 40% of respondents said they would “wait and see” whether they’d receive a vaccine in December 2020, that number is now down to 17%. As far as shots in arms, 30% of the population received at least one vaccine dose, while nearly 17% is fully vaccinated. New Mexico, New Hampshire, Connecticut, South Dakota and Maine have the highest percentage of their population with at least one shot. A Johnson & Johnson vaccine producer made an error in manufacturing, which will slow down shipments. Still, it likely won’t impact the overall vaccination efforts. Meanwhile, Pfizer announced their vaccine is safe and effective in children as young as 12.

A line chart showing the share of people who wanted to "wait and see" about the covid vaccine has shrunk to 17% today from 40% in December

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