US seeing ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as cases rise in every state

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US seeing ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as cases rise in every state
Public health chiefs warn of ‘extraordinary surge’ as less than half the US population fully vaccinated

Ed Pilkington and Lauren Aratani in New York
Fri 16 Jul 2021 18.47 BST

Covid cases are rising in all 50 US states as the Delta variant spreads coast to coast, news outlets reported on Friday , and with less than half the US population fully vaccinated, public health chiefs warned of an “extraordinary surge”.


Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a White House briefing: “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/16/normality-covid-holiday-risk-florida-sun
Walensky said the US was seeing an average of 26,000 new coronavirus cases a day – a seven-day average that is 70% higher than last week. Hospitalizations and deaths are also seeing increases – about 36% and 26%, respectively, with Walensky noting this was another “critical moment” in the outbreak.

“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. Communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well,” she said.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases official, said there had been an “extraordinary surge” in the Delta variant of Covid-19 – which is more transmissible – around the world, including in the US.

Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus team, confirmed that unvaccinated Americans “account for virtually all recent Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths”.

Four states that are currently seeing high increases in Covid-19 cases have accounted for over 40% of the total Covid cases seen in the country this past week, Zients said. One in five cases occurred in Florida, in which about 50% of the state is fully vaccinated.

“Each Covid-19 death is tragic, and those happening now are even more tragic because they are preventable,” he said.
Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada are also seeing surges in infections in many parts.

On Friday, CNN reported that all US states were now experiencing an increase in new cases, more than 18 months into the pandemic.

Data compiled by the New York Times showed that the average rate measured over the past 14 days was rising in all 50 states – varying from a dramatic 373% in Tennessee to 10% in Maine.

And the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine coronavirus resource center has presented data showing cases currently rising in all states with the exception in recent days, despite Zients’s comments, of Florida.

Zients said that the White House was working on local outreach to communities that are skeptical of the vaccine and was making the vaccine accessible at doctor’s offices and workplaces.

As the prevalence of infection grows, prompting concern yet again for hospital systems, some authorities have begun to impose renewed restrictions.

Los Angeles from Saturday night will return to mandatory mask-wearing indoors, even for people who have been vaccinated, as the nation’s largest county seeks to contain a sustained increase in cases among its 10 million population.

On Thursday, LA county recorded 1,537 new cases – the largest daily load since early March.

Nearly 400 people were hospitalized with Covid in LA as of Wednesday, up 275 from the week before, and nine new Covid deaths were reported on the same day.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” LA county’s public health officer, Dr Muntu Davis, said.

The challenge now facing states with relatively low vaccination levels was illustrated by Louisiana, where CNN reported that only 36% of citizens are fully vaccinated and some hospitals are feeling the strain. The state is recording almost 2,000 new cases of Covid a day, the highest level in four months.

About 60% of Louisiana’s new cases are accounted for by the Delta variant.

 

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Delta COVID-19 variant now dominant strain worldwide; U.S. deaths surge
Carl O'Donnell and Jeff Mason
ReutersStaff

Published Friday, July 16, 2021 12:57PM EDTLast Updated Friday, July 16, 2021 1:43PM EDT


The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a surge of deaths around the United States almost entirely among unvaccinated people, U.S. officials said on Friday.

U.S. cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.

The seven-day-average number of daily cases is now more than 26,000, more than twice its June low of around 11,000 cases, according to CDC data.


The starkest uptick in cases has occurred in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada, said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients. All those states have below-average vaccination rates.

"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said, adding that 97% of people entering hospitals in the United States with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

She said an increasing number of counties around the United States now exhibit a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, reversing significant declines in transmission risk in recent months.

Around one in five new cases have occurred in Florida, Zients said.

The Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the original variant of COVID-19, has been detected around 100 countries globally and is now the dominant variant worldwide, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said.

"We are dealing with a formidable variant" of COVID-19, Fauci said during the call.

Walensky urged unvaccinated Americans to get COVID-19 shots, and said Pfizer Inc's and Moderna Inc's vaccines have proven to be especially effective against the Delta variant.

She said people should get the second dose of vaccine even if they have passed the recommended window of time for receiving it.

Around 5 million people have been vaccinated in the United States in the past 10 days, Zients said, including many in states that so far have had lower vaccination rates.

"In the past week, the five states with the highest case rates - Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada - had a higher rate of people getting newly vaccinated," he said.

Delta outbreaks may be boosting demand for vaccinations in harder-hit states, Michael Newshel, a healthcare analyst at Evercore ISI, said in a note to clients. He added that residents of Utah and California are also seeking shots at an accelerated pace.

Zients added that the United States has enough vaccines on hand to give booster vaccines but is still working to determine if boosters are needed.

 
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