What We’re Reading: US COVID-19 Deaths Hit New Low; CDC, FDA Face Trust Problems; Vaccine Disparities in CA

Rates of COVID-19 deaths have fallen to their lowest point in 10 months in the United States; survey reveals America's public health agencies face significant trust barriers; data from California highlight vaccine administration disparities.

COVID-19 Deaths Drop

In the United States, deaths from COVID-19 have fallen to around 600 per day, marking the lowest level in 10 months, NBC News reports. In over half of states, the number of lives lost is dropping to single digits and hitting zero on some days. Confirmed infections have also fallen to around 38,000 per day on average, the lowest rate reported since mid-September. In early January, new cases were averaging more than a quarter million per day. Mid-January also marked the highest rates of daily deaths, at over 3400 per day reported at that time. Currently, almost 45% of the country’s adults are fully vaccinated while over 58% have received at least 1 dose.

Trust in Public Health Agencies Diminished

A new poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found only 52% of Americans have a great deal of trust in the CDC while only 37% said they have a lot of trust in the FDA or NIH. Reported by NPR, the results indicate trust isn’t just a problem for national health agencies as state health departments have the trust of 41% of Americans and local health departments garnered 44%. The survey was conducted from mid-February to mid-March of 2021 and included 1305 individuals. The trends mirror feelings of distrust in the government in general, explained the researchers.

Vaccine Disparities Persist in California

A Los Angeles Times analysis found Black and Latino Californians are less likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, only about one-third of these populations have received at least 1 dose of a vaccine compared with the majority of White and Asian American/Pacific Islander Californians. Those living in the state’s most disadvantaged areas were also less likely to have received a vaccine as only 39% of these individuals have gotten at least 1 shot. In comparison, 62% of those in California’s most advantaged areas have received a shot. Disparities also persist between age groups as only 53% of the youngest adults, up to age 49, have received at least 1 vaccine dose.