Delta variant now accounts for 83% of US cases, CDC says – .

Delta variant now accounts for 83% of US cases, CDC says – .

The most contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 now accounts for 83% of samples sequenced in the United States, the director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said on Tuesday.

“This is a dramatic increase, up from 50% for the week of July 3,” Walensky said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Human Rights. pensions.

Health experts have said that the Delta variant is more transmissible than any other variant identified so far. “We should consider the Delta variant as the 2020 version of COVID-19 on steroids,” Andy Slavitt, former senior advisor to Joe Biden’s Covid response team, told CNN.

“It’s twice as contagious,” Slavitt said. “Fortunately, unlike 2020, we actually have a tool that stops the Delta variant in its tracks: it’s called a vaccine. “

The most recent data from Israel evaluating the effectiveness of the Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine against the Delta variant revealed that the vaccine protects 64% against infection and that the vaccine is 93% effective in preventing serious disease and hospitalizations. Other studies indicate that Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also effective against the Delta variant.

But more than half of the United States is not yet fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, a hurdle that has become increasingly worrying for health experts as resistance to vaccination increases with the spread of misinformation. . While many of those who resist are not vaccinated, Dr Anthony Fauci said the United States can expect a “smoldering” epidemic for “a considerable period of time.”

Having already been fooled by the virus, the US Surgeon General says now is the time to be careful.

“There have been a couple of times we’ve been duped by COVID-19, when the cases went down and we thought we were clear, then the cases went up again,” Dr Vivek Murthy told Anderson Cooper of CNN. “This means we shouldn’t let our guard down until the cases are not only going down but staying low, and right now the cases are actually increasing. Cases are increasing, hospitalizations are increasing, death rates are increasing. “

The average of new daily cases this week is up 66% from last week and 145% from two weeks ago, as cases increase in 44 states, according to data from Johns University Hopkins. In addition, hospitalizations are up 26% from last week.

And 99.5 percent of deaths are among the unvaccinated, Murthy told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday on “State of the Union” – a figure cited by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more early in the month.

Already, some hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients again, Murthy said.

“I’m sorry to see how hard (the doctors are working) – how exhausted they are,” Murthy said. “Many of them are suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, due to the stress they endured during this pandemic. “

Murthy urged Americans to get vaccinated – if not for themselves, then for healthcare workers who need protection from burnout and children who are not yet eligible for the protection provided by the vaccine.

Even if parents are vaccinated, wearing a mask in areas at high risk of transmission is “the right thing to do,” he said. Murthy, a father of two aged three and four, said he was taking such precautions because “I want to take all possible measures to protect my child.”

“Our children who cannot get vaccinated depend on our vaccination to protect them from the spread of the virus. We are their shields, ”Murthy said. “Even if you don’t want to do it yourself, consider getting vaccinated to protect children in your community. They depend on us. “


In addition to protecting children from infection, many experts and officials have stressed the importance of getting them safely back to the classroom.

Most children are less likely than adults to contract serious illness from COVID-19, and the benefits of learning in the classroom outweigh the risks, said Dr Greta Massetti, member of the emergency department. COVID-19 from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reply.

“However,” she added, “for some families, especially those with children or family members who are at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19, or who cannot get away with it. immunize, these families may be more comfortable with a remote option this fall. “

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines for schools that support in-person learning and recommend universal masking in schools for all people over two years of age.

“The AAP believes that at this stage of the pandemic, given what we know about low transmission rates in schools when appropriate preventive measures are used, as well as the availability of effective vaccines for the 12 years and older, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in all circumstances, ”said the guide.

The guidelines differ in part from the CDC’s recommendations, which advise wearing masks indoors in schools by all people who are not fully immunized.

But Fauci said the CDC gives localities the flexibility to pass judgment based on their circumstances.

And when there is a high rate of spread of the virus in a community and a low proportion of people vaccinated, “you really want to go the extra step, the extra effort, to make sure there isn’t a lot of. transmission, even of breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals, ”said Fauci. “They just want to be safer. “

Some states, including Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Virginia, and Washington, follow AAP guidelines for requiring masks among K-12 students regardless of their immunization status. .

But an updated CNN analysis found that at least nine states – Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont – have enacted legislation prohibiting districts from requiring masks in schools.


While some states are staying away from mask warrants, others are embracing a return to preventive measures.

As California reports an increase in cases to levels not seen since February – when new cases declined after a winter wave – about half of the state’s population is again on mask warrants and recommendations.

“It’s inevitable,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said of the new requirements and recommendations. “If we want to end this pandemic once and for all, if we want to turn the page, we can do it in weeks, not months. It’s that simple: If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated. “

In Massachusetts, Provincetown officials issued a public health notice on Monday, urging the public to wear masks and get vaccinated if they haven’t already. The public health advisory comes amid an increase in cases in Provincetown after the July 4 bank holiday weekend, according to the advisory.

The advisory also says it is strongly advised for sites with “high density where social distancing is not feasible to apply pre-admission vaccine verification.”

New Jersey is also seeing an increase in rates, with a positivity score raised to 2.5% and a 20% increase in the number of unvaccinated patients in hospitals, said State Health Commissioner Judy. Persichili. But the state will not revert to a mask mandate just yet.

“We continue to be comfortable where we are, but we’re looking at it like a hawk. And our strong, strong preference is not to go back, ”Gov. Phil Murphy said.


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