The more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for about 83% of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, with the majority of deaths occurring in unvaccinated people, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
“This is a dramatic increase from 50% the week of July 3,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky of the current rate of cases involving the delta strain at a Senate hearing. “In some parts of the country, the percentage is even higher. “
Over the past week, the United States has recorded an average of 239 deaths per day from the virus. This is an increase of almost 48% from the previous week. The overwhelming majority of deaths are among those who are not vaccinated, she said.
“Every death is tragic and even more heartbreaking when you consider that the majority of these deaths could be prevented with a simple, safe and available vaccine,” she said.
While overall the number of new cases of COVID-19 has declined since vaccines were made available in the United States earlier this year, they have started to increase in recent weeks. Almost two-thirds of counties still have vaccination rates below 40%. Where vaccination rates are low, cases and hospitalizations start to rise again, allowing the delta variant to spread, she said.
“The CDC’s message remains clear: the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of the disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” he said. she declared.
Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, also stressed the need for all Americans to be vaccinated while stressing the threat this new variant poses to human health and safety.
“It has the ability to effectively transmit from human to human in an extraordinary way, far beyond any other variation we’ve known so far,” he said at the same hearing. “We have the tools to end this epidemic. It is up to us to use these tools to the maximum.
Fauci had warned late last month, when the variant made up around 20% of new cases, that the variant would be the dominant strain in the United States within just a few weeks. In early July, it accounted for just over 50% of new cases, according to the CDC.
Fauci said on Tuesday that health officials are currently investigating whether booster shots are needed for those vaccinated to ensure the sustainability of vaccines, but more information is needed at this time.
The CDC continues to advise people to wear masks indoors if they are not fully immunized against the coronavirus.
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