The White House has dedicated this week to trying to bring order to a rebounding health crisis and calling on the population to be vaccinated against the urgent danger posed by the delta variant of the coronavirus, whose viral load is up to 1,200 times higher than previous mutations . Never before has the president, Joe Biden, been seen so concerned, imploring his fellow citizens to come and get vaccinated, begging them for responsibility to end the nightmare. “We are facing the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” the president declared in a speech Thursday from the White House. Less than half of US citizens have the complete vaccination schedule (for comparison, in Spain it has already been administered to almost 57%). 90 million people remain without protection. Within the population segment from 65 years of age, 90% of North Americans have at least one dose inoculated and 80% are fully vaccinated. But the figures drop as age falls: only 59% of those over 18 have injected the dose that each pharmacist requires.
The president spoke of “freedom”, referring to those who wave this word as a right not to get vaccinated. The president was very explicit in saying that freedom entails “responsibility” and that being responsible means getting vaccinated. Faced with this crisis, the Joe Biden Administration has ordered the Pentagon to examine when it will add covid-19 injections to the list of vaccines required for members of the Armed Forces and has urged state Capitols to offer even a stimulus of 100 dollars (84 euros) so that people are encouraged to get vaccinated. In addition, the country’s borders are kept closed to the outside and there has been a return to the recommendation – and even the imposition in some States – of the use of masks in closed places, even for vaccinated people.
The reaction of the political opposition has been so fierce that the president even declared in a speech in the middle of the week that it was not “red states [republicanos] or blue states [demócratas]”. “It is about life or death,” proclaimed the president. From the pulpit offered by the White House, he glossed the virtues of vaccines with the aim that people go to a place and receive their injection, free of charge. “It’s not just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others,” he added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis withdrew his son from a summer camp where he was required to wear a mask. “Experts have communicated their legitimate fears that masks harm more than protect, as they can have a negative impact on learning, speech and emotional and physical health” of children, explained the Republican. That happened last Thursday, and during the following days, groups of people have burned masks in the street as a sign of protest against the new directive of the health authorities, which they consider violates their individual freedom.
The social and political storm was staged while more than 70% of the country is made up of areas where there is “a high” or “important” risk of contagion. About 97% of hospitalized patients with coronavirus have not been vaccinated, a figure that gives the measure of the need for this preventive measure. The total number of cases in the US amounts to more than 34 million people, while deaths exceed 610,000.
The media have been reporting for days about hospitals collapsed due to lack of beds for children, in cities like Baton Rouge (Louisiana). As reported by CNN, a doctor from the Our Lady of the Lake medical center in that city assured that now more sick children are seen than at the beginning of the pandemic, and much more serious. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, according to its acronym in English), Rochelle Walensky, this week emphasized the need to take seriously the virus and the threat it poses to children.
“It is a mistake to say that only 400 of these 600,000 deaths from covid-19 have been in children,” said Walensky, on the Senate Health Committee. “Children are not supposed to die. So 400 is a lot, ”he continued. So far, no covid-19 vaccine has been given the green light for children under 12 years of age. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna continue to conduct clinical trials, but it will likely take months for those children to be able to receive a vaccine.
As the workweek was nearing the end, last Thursday, an internal CDC report, to which the newspaper had access The Washington Post, sounded all the alarms by ensuring that the delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox. After this information, the next step that the health authorities had to take in the fight against the coronavirus was to recognize that “the war has changed.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.