COVID-19 cases in the United States are starting to rise after several weeks of significant declines. This is likely to be due to the highly transmissible Delta variant infection (B1617.2). This is most noticeable in the South and Western states and communities with low vaccination rates.
According to Dr. Rochelle Walsky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 83 percent are now due to the delta variant of Covid-19, she said Tuesday.
Walensky spoke at a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing.
The delta variant was responsible for 83.2 percent in new Covid-19 cases as of July 17. These latest statistics will be made available online by the Centers of Disease Control on tuesday afternoon.
According to the CDC, the rise in the Delta variant coincides with an increase in Covid-19-related deaths, hospitalizations, and cases in the U.S.
The United States is currently at an unprecedented crossroads of the pandemic.
Half of the United States population is now fully vaccinated. Safety and health restrictions have become looser in the past 18 months. After months of decline, new coronavirus infections have returned to the forefront.
It was not surprising that cases involving the “hypertransmissible variant” were on the rise.
Just one month ago, on June 19, the delta variant accounted for just over 30 percent of new cases. It crossed the threshold of 50 percent to become the dominant variant.
The message from public health officials and experts is clear: Vaccines provide the best protection against severe illness and hospitalizations as the delta variant spreads. The delta variant has seen more than 97 percent of hospitalizations in the past year. This creates what Rochelle Walensky (director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) calls “a pandemic among the unvaccinated.”
Those who remain unvaccinated are most at risk for infection.
This applies to children under twelve years who are not protected by vaccines. The variant does not appear to be hitting children more than it is. Children under twelve years old are at the most significant risk because they cannot get vaccinated.
The confidence in this virus is growing as more Americans get vaccinated. The COVID Data Tracker of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 381,282,720 COVID-19 vaccination doses were delivered in the United States, and 324,414,371 vaccines have been given. Overall, 66.1% of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccines, while 153.776.118 are fully vaccinated.
It is still challenging to immunize at-risk populations. Kaiser Health News reports that California’s vaccination campaign has stagnated in the most vulnerable communities, including those of Black and Latino origin, and in rural areas where opposition to vaccines is rampant. Californians cover nearly 60% of the population, with only 39% of eligible Black residents being vaccinated and 40% for Latinos by Friday.
If I’ve been fully vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask inside?
In spring, the CDC announced that anyone fully vaccinated could use indoor environments without masks, except where required by federal, state, and local guidelines. The Washington Post was contacted by several health professionals who said that the CDC’s mask guidance is inadequate.
Emily Landon, University of Chicago Medicine’s chief infectious-disease epidemiologist, stated that the CDC should have established parameters for the mask rules.