Since March 2020, the world has been buffeted by wave after wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a scourge that has so far claimed 4.8 million lives globally. While the world is still very much at COVID sea, this week has offered glimpses of progress: in most places, declining rates of new cases, and in Australia, which has so far guarded against the virus with strict travel restrictions and lock downs, the announcement that the government would begin to open up borders (at least for Australians) in November.
The impetus for that latter development is Australia’s rising vaccination rate: 47% of its citizens are now fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, which collects information from local governments—and the vaccination rate is the metric that more than any other appears key to the globe moving past the pandemic.
Worldwide, though, it’s still a mixed picture. As of Wednesday, Oct. 6, 46% of people around the globe had so far received one COVID shot. But those people remain largely concentrated in the world’s wealthiest countries, where vaccines were first available and in abundant supply. Just 2.3% of individuals in low-income countries have received a COVID vaccine, and the rate at which COVID shots are being administered globally has fallen to roughly 23.6 million shots per day, down from a peak of 43.8 million in June.
At the high end are countries including Chile, where 74% of people are fully vaccinated, China (73%), Canada (72%), and France (66%). At the low end are most countries in Africa, including highly populated nations like Ethiopia (.74%), Kenya (2%), and Nigeria (.92%). Rates have begun to climb faster in South Asia and Southeast Asia: India and Indonesia, both among the largest countries by population, are at 18% and 19.42%, respectively.
In the U.S., where cases nationally are in decline after a late summer surge driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals stands at 55%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65% of the population has gotten at least one dose. As for booster shots, 6 million people or 3.2% of the population has received one.
While the U.S. is still averaging a little over 100,000 new cases per day, that’s down 24% from two weeks ago, according to New York Times data. The number of new cases reported per day has decreased from levels two weeks ago in all but 10 states. New cases have risen the most over that period in Maine, where reported infections are up 23.9% over two weeks ago, followed by Michigan and North Dakota at 23%.
New cases have fallen most in Florida, down 53% in that period, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, and Puerto Rico, which have also seen new cases decrease by more than 50%.
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