After several previous workouts with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, this time Dr. Anthony Fauci took off the gloves.
The government’s top infectious disease expert appeared before Congress again on Tuesday and again engaged in a heated discussion with Paul, who accused him of lying in a previous hearing on corporate funding. National Institutes of Health from a Wuhan lab that Paul suggested contributing to the COVID -19 pandemic.
When Fauci explained that the project Paul was referring to did not qualify as a job search, which could include increasing the transmissibility of viruses, the senator interrupted and insisted. Fauci scolded him sharply.
“Sen. Paul, you don’t know what you’re talking about, quite frankly,” Fauci said. “And I want to say it officially. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
After an exchange in which they cut each other off, Paul said: “You are trying to obscure the responsibility of 4 million people who have died worldwide from a pandemic,” Paul said.
Paul was told to let Fauci speak, and the White House chief medical adviser replied, “You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I don’t like that at all, and if anyone is lying here, senator, it is you. “
– Jordan Mendoza
Also in the news:
►A White House official and Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, both fully vaccinated, tested positive for the coronavirus after attending an event together.
►Costco will continue to run special hours of operation for members 60 and over and vulnerable buyers, reducing them to two days a week.
►The United States has improved its travel warnings for Britain, Indonesia and three other destinations, advising against visiting those countries due to the surge in coronavirus infections.
►Canada will reopen its doors to U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated permanent residents starting August 9.
►Spanish authorities are celebrating that half of the country’s population, or around 24 million people, has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, although they say a sharp rise in infections is sending a worrying number of patients to hospitals.
Numbers of the day: The United States has recorded more than 34.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 609,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 191 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. More than 161.4 million Americans – 48.6% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
What we read: At a time when the infection rate has doubled, many go unvaccinated, and the delta variant is much more contagious than the original, it’s important to recognize that vaccines aren’t perfect.
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CDC: Delta responsible for 83% of new infections
The overwhelming prevalence of the delta variant became sharper on Tuesday when the CDC chief said it accounted for 83% of new sequenced infections in the United States. That figure stood at 50% on July 3, CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said. a committee of Congress.
“It’s a dramatic increase,” she said. “In some parts of the country the percentage is even higher, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. “
This has allowed the highly contagious variant to spread quickly, Walensky said, noting that nearly two-thirds of counties nationwide have yet to fully immunize even 40% of their population.
The vaccines have been shown to be effective against the delta variant, which helps explain why more than 99% of recent COVID deaths are among the unvaccinated. But with vaccination efforts stalled amid reluctance or external refusal to be vaccinated, and a third of the eligible population still unvaccinated, the virus still has many hosts to infect.
“Every death is tragic and even more heartbreaking when we know that the majority of these deaths could be prevented with a simple, safe and available vaccine,” Walensky said.
COVID-19 vaccines are very effective but not foolproof. Now, with the spread of the delta variant, the risk of so-called “breakthrough” infections is higher among fully vaccinated people simply because the prevalence of the virus has increased.
The vast majority of those suffering from the severe effects of the disease these days, however, are unvaccinated, who account for over 99% of recent deaths from COVID.
“The effectiveness of vaccines in preventing hospitalizations and deaths is incredible,” said Carlos del Rio, epidemiologist and distinguished professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “It’s not 100%. But nothing in this world is 100%.”
– Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub
Growing urge to “vax and mask”
Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people vaccinated didn’t need to wear masks indoors two months ago, experts are now calling on people to “vax it and mask it.”
Los Angeles County made indoor masks mandatory this weekend, although the county sheriff said he would not apply it. Other counties in California have recommended indoor masks as well. Arkansas, Missouri and New York are assessing mask warrants as cases rise in those states.
And the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released recommendations for the 2021-22 school year that include all people over the age of 2 wearing masks, regardless of their immunization status.
“Instead of vaxing it OR masking it, emerging data suggests the CDC should advise vaxing it and masking it in areas with (increasing) cases and positivity until we see the numbers come down again. again, “said former US surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams. said on Twitter.
The weekly moving average of cases in the United States has nearly tripled in the past month. The rate of deaths is also up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago.
Survey: 78% of adults think vaccines work
A new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania reveals growing public confidence in the safety and efficacy of COVID vaccines.
Of the 1,719 American adults surveyed, 78% believe it is definitely or probably true that vaccines work – an increase from 74% in April. Meanwhile, 76% of those polled think it is certainly or probably true that it is safer to get the vaccine than to contract COVID-19.
The survey also showed that public confidence in U.S. health authorities continues, with 76% of respondents expressing confidence in the CDC and 68% in Dr Anthony Fauci, the face of the country’s viral response.
But there is good news and bad news, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said in a statement. The survey also found that people who rely on conservative media are more likely to have less confidence in Fauci and vaccines, as well as more likely to believe misinformation about both.
“Those who trust health authorities are more likely to get the vaccine,” Jamieson said. “The misleading messages that undermine confidence in a health expert like Dr Fauci are deeply disturbing.”
Low vaccination rates, delta variant fuel surge in southern cases
New cases linked to the highly contagious delta variant are on the increase and disproportionately affect unvaccinated populations, creating a precarious situation in several southern states. In many of these states, health workers continue to fight the widespread reluctance and misinformation about immunization, which has resulted in some of the lowest immunization rates in the country.
Over the past two weeks, health officials in the region have issued warnings alerting the public to the widespread spread of the delta variant, which is more contagious.
“It is very reminiscent of where we were at the start of the pandemic,” said Mississippi state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “It feels like we’re in the same situation now with the delta variant.” Read more here.
– Maria Clark, Melissa Brown and Sarah Haselhorst, The American South
These are the biggest myths about the COVID vaccine spreading online
Health officials say misinformation continues to hamper vaccination efforts, and they call on social media companies to do more to address it.
“They are killing people,” President Joe Biden said when NBC News asked him what his message was to platforms such as Facebook. “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they kill people.
In a statement, Facebook said the company would not be “distracted by accusations that are not supported by the facts.” Biden clarified Monday that his comments were aimed at those who spread lies about the vaccine on social media platforms.
Health experts agree that more needs to be done to tackle misinformation online, and they have debunked some of social media’s biggest myths about COVID-19 vaccines. Read more here.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Former senior official accuses Boris Johnson of mismanaging COVID-19 threat last year
Dominic Cummings, a former senior official to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, accused Johnson of dismissing the threat of COVID-19 last year.
Since quitting his job in November, Cummings has launched attacks on his former boss through blog posts, tweets and testimonies to lawmakers, accusing Johnson of failing to act quickly against the coronavirus and causing unrest. thousands of unnecessary deaths.
The latest accusations came in a BBC interview on Tuesday in which Cummings said Johnson’s attitude in the fall of 2020 “was a weird mix of, in part,” Everything is absurd and lockdowns don’t work anyway, “and in part,” Well that’s terrible but the people who die are pretty much all over 80 and we can’t kill the economy just because of the people dying over 80 years.”’
Johnson’s office did not deny Cummings’ claims but said that “since the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister has taken steps to protect lives and livelihoods, guided by the best scientific advice” .
Contribute: The Associated Press.