The highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 83% of all sequenced cases in the US, a senior federal health official said Tuesday.
“This is a dramatic increase, compared to 50% [in] the week of July 4, “said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in her testimony before the Senate.
Walensky also said that Covid deaths had risen by nearly 48% over the past week to an average of 239 per day.
“Each death is tragic and even more heartbreaking when we know that most of these deaths could be prevented with a simple and safe vaccine available,” he said.
A group of states in the Midwest and South have emerged as the new hot spots for Covid-19.
With less than half of the US population fully vaccinated, infection rates in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are among the highest, with vaccination rates among the lowest.
In the past two weeks, the infection rate in the U.S. has increased by 198%. States that had some of the higher increases in that period they include Oklahoma, with 387%, and Louisiana and Mississippi with 376% and 308%.
The national vaccination campaign has slowed down significantly. The United States is administering 521,000 daily doses, one 85% decrease from a peak in April when 3.38 million doses were administered every day.
“This is turning into a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said last week. “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 doing well. “
Given that the Biden administration has failed to achieve its goal of giving at least one injection to 70% of adults by July 4, the rapid transmission of the Delta variant poses a serious challenge to attempts to control the pandemic.
In addition to prioritizing speed, the administration is focusing on distributing injections equitably to the most affected communities.
According to Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House coronavirus team, the administration is working in outreach in vaccine-reluctant communities, as well as improving accessibility in doctor’s offices and workplaces.
According to data According to the New York Times, the most socially vulnerable counties have a lower average vaccination rate than the least vulnerable. Most of the most disadvantaged counties are in the south.
“The people who haven’t been vaccinated so far are a very diverse group,” said Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s easy to describe it as … a political fringe, but vaccination rates are higher, for example, in older people, and that’s regardless of political leanings.”
The most vaccinated and least vulnerable counties are in the Midwest and Northeast.
Overall, the US is holding up in significantly better shape than at all previous points in the pandemic, despite a national surge in infections. Death rates have remained near their lowest levels since last spring and hospitalization rates are much lower compared to last winter’s peak.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism