A kind of worst nightmare seems to be happening before our eyes: Just when COVID-19 was at bay, with cases down 90%, it’s resurging, due to a Delta variant and not enough Americans getting the vaccine. Cases, believe it or not, are up. In response, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spoke at today’s White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing and issued a few key points that might shake you but need to be heard. Read on for her essential advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
“CDC reported a little over 14,000 new cases of COVID-19,” said Walensky. “Our seven-day average is about 13,900 cases per day. And this represents an increase in cases of nearly 11% from the prior seven day average. The seven day average of hospital admissions is about 2,000 per day. This also represents an increase of about 7% from the prior seven day average and a seven day average of daily deaths is about 184 per day. These numbers, and what we are seeing across the country, revealed two truths about the current state of a pandemic. On the one hand, we have seen the successes of our vaccination program over the last eight months with cases, hospitalizations and deaths far lower than the peaks we saw in January. And yet, on the other hand, we are starting to see some new and concerning trends, simply put, in areas of low vaccination coverage and hospitalizations are up further.”
“We are seeing some small clusters and larger outbreaks of COVID-19 in locations, such as camps and communities where proper hard-learned prevention strategies are not enforced,” said Walensky, “and the virus is readily able to thrive. Meanwhile, the Delta variant is spreading rapidly throughout the country. This week, the Delta variant is estimated to be the most prevalent variant in the United States representing over 50% of sequence samples across the country. Up from 26% from the week ending June 19th. And in some parts of the country, the percentage is even higher. For example, in parts of the Midwest and Upper Mountain States, CDC’s early sequence data suggest the Delta variant accounts for approximately 80% of cases. Although we expected the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling. We know that the Delta variant has increased transmissibility and it is currently surging and pockets of the country with low vaccination rates.”
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“We know that our authorized vaccines prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death from the Delta variant,” said Walensky, adding that these “results have been observed not just here in the United States, but in other countries as well. Of course, widespread vaccination is what will truly turn the corner on this pandemic. Please know if you are not vaccinated, you remain susceptible, especially from the transmissible Delta variant, and are particularly at risk for severe illness.”
Walensky shows a map in which counties “where more than 9 million Americans live and work and are the locations in the country where we are seeing the increased hospitalizations and deaths among unvaccinated individuals. Many of these counties are also the same locations where the Delta variant represents the large majority of circulating virus, low vaccination rates in these counties, coupled with high case rates and lacks mitigation policies, but do not protect those who are unvaccinated from disease will certainly emphatically lead to more unnecessary suffering hospitalizations. And potentially that indeed, as I say, the last week, preliminary data from several states over the last few months suggest that 99.5% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States were in unvaccinated people.”
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“We are seeing that communities and counties that have high vaccine coverage and low case rates are getting back to normal, turning the corner on this pandemic, getting back to normal and stopping the Delta variant,” said Walensky. It “requires all of us to do our part and to get vaccinated. So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.