Growing alarm amid uptick in COVID cases. ‘We’ve seen almost an entire takeover in the Delta variant,’ state official says – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) – The US has exceeded 20,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fourth year in a row as the highly contagious Delta variant remains the most common form of the coronavirus in the country.
The last time the country had consecutive days with more than 20,000 cases was in May, according to the data.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that more than 9 million people live in counties where cases are increasing and vaccination rates are below 40%.
“Many of these counties are also the same places where the delta variant is the vast majority of circulating viruses,” she said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said the variant could lead to a small increase in infections in these areas.
“I am concerned that this variant is becoming more and more dominant. In the selected areas of the country with very low vaccination levels of around 30%, you will see mini overflows that are restricted to certain regions. “He said on Friday.
“You don’t want to see two Americas separate, one that is vaccinated and protected and another that is unvaccinated and very vulnerable,” said Fauci.
Overall, 47.9% of the US population is fully vaccinated, while 20 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents.
Raise the alarm in Mississippi
The surge has alarmed officials in Mississippi, where only a third of the population is fully vaccinated.
“We have seen almost a complete takeover in the Delta variant,” said State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
“We see a lot of outbreaks. We see a lot of outbreaks in youth. We see a lot of breakouts in summer activities. We are also seeing many outbreaks in nursing homes where we have our most vulnerable people, ”he said.
The number of cases and hospital admissions are trending up due to the spread of the virus, mainly among the unvaccinated, said state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers.
Although the death toll has not increased, they expect that to change as death rates tend to lag behind the case numbers.
The state advises seniors 65 and over to avoid mass gatherings by July 26, regardless of vaccination status.
People with compromised immune systems – whose immune systems are weakened – are also advised to follow the new guidelines released on Friday.
Advice for people with upper respiratory symptoms
As cases rise, the CDC is urging all adults and children who have upper respiratory symptoms to get tested for Covid-19 regardless of their vaccination status, Walensky told CNN on Friday.
While there is significant overlap between the symptoms of a cold and Covid-19 because both are respiratory diseases, not everyone will have the same symptoms for both diseases – and some people may not have any symptoms at all.
However, she said that people who are fully vaccinated should continue to feel very protected from serious illnesses.
A breakthrough infection should be viewed as a “vaccine success” rather than a vaccine failure, Walensky said, because the vaccine does what it was designed to do: prevent serious illness and death.
Breakthrough infections occur when people who are fully vaccinated become infected with the virus.
Early studies have also confirmed that most people who develop breakthrough infections don’t replicate enough viruses in their bodies to become contagious, she said. Even if people could test positive, they are unlikely to be a source of spreading the virus.
Will a booster be needed in the future?
After Pfizer announced on Thursday that it was working on developing a third booster, questions about the long-term effectiveness of vaccines arose.
In response, Fauci said people should seek refresher advice from federal health officials.
“Of course they have to listen to the CDC and the FDA because the FDA is the regulator in control of it. And the CDC will make the recommendation in accordance with its Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices, ”he said.
“We respect what the drug company does, but the American public should take their advice from the CDC and FDA,” he said.
Dr. Peter Hotez, chairman of tropical pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital, said the current vaccines offer high levels of protection.
“It looks like the two doses of the current vaccine are pretty robust against the Delta variant,” Hotez said on Friday. “So yes, we need a booster vaccination, but at the moment there is no need to vaccinate.”
Pfizer said it is seeing declining immunity from its vaccine, made in partnership with BioNTech, and is continuing its efforts to develop a booster to provide further protection against variants.
Dr. Stephen Thomas, coordinating principal investigator for Pfizer / BioNTech’s vaccine study, said it was not uncommon for vaccine-induced immunity to decline over time.
“The bottom line, however, is, to which we don’t know the answer right now, though this immunity wears off over time, it remains above a level we need to protect people,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
“I want to focus people here on the point that the public health burden from Covid is serious illness, hospitalization and death,” he said. “Although these immune responses wear off over time, they are very, very effective in preventing these three outcomes.”
Federal Council for Schools in Autumn promotes personal learning
Meanwhile, the CDC said on Friday that schools should give priority to face-to-face tuition in the fall, but it was crucial to overlay safety strategies like masking and physical distancing, and most importantly, vaccinations, on all eligible individuals.
Schools willing to deviate from pandemic precautions when community transmission reaches low levels should do so gradually, the agency said in a draft guidance it received from CNN.
“If local communities decide to remove prevention strategies in schools due to local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely (with appropriate testing) for increases in COVID-19 cases before removing the next prevention strategy,” it said in the guidance, adding that schools need to be transparent about this with families, staff and the community.
Fauci agrees, adding that unvaccinated children should wear masks.
“I think the CDC’s message is clear and I totally agree with them,” Fauci told CNN. “We want all children to be in face-to-face classes again in the fall semester.”
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