“If we want to keep our children in school, if we want to protect the economy, if we want our country to go through this pandemic, we must not neglect anything to make sure that people get vaccinated,” the US said. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
As the number of new cases grows in 48 states, data from Johns Hopkins University shows, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all federal employees except the military must certify that they are vaccinated against Covid-19 or face strict protocols including once or twice weekly testing, masking and other mitigating measures.
Data is already showing the difference between areas with high and low vaccination rates.
Average hospitalization rates are nearly three times higher in states that have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents compared to those that have vaccinated more than half of their residents, according to a CNN analysis of federal data. And rates of Covid-19 cases and deaths over the past week are more than twice as high among states that have vaccinated less than half of their residents, on average.
“The private sector is already working to create verification systems,” said Murthy. “What we’re going to see more and more, Anderson, in the weeks and months to come is, I believe, that we’re going to see more universities, more hospitals, more businesses, more ‘Retail establishments seeking to put in place rules to require people to get vaccinated. “
These kinds of mandates can make the difference in motivating Americans to get vaccinated, Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Thursday. Jha said other measures will help the United States manage transmission in the short term, but vaccination warrants will be part of the long-term solution.
“I wish we had done these warrants a month earlier,” Jha added. “They would have made a bigger difference, but even doing it now will help. “
The enemy is the Delta variant, says the governor
Not only is the variant considered to be much more transmissible than other strains, but an internal report presented to the CDC indicates that it can cause more serious illness and can be just as easily transmitted by vaccinated people as by unvaccinated people when it causes breakthrough infections.
The document – a slideshow first obtained by The Washington Post – appears to provide data to support the controversial decision of CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to change the agency’s guidelines on the use of masks. .
He says the Delta variant is about as transmissible as chickenpox, with each person infected infecting an average of eight or nine others. The original line was about as transmissible as the common cold, with each infected person transmitting the virus to about two other people on average.
Some states are seeing the consequences of the spread of the virus unfold.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced he is restoring the public health emergency due to the increase in Covid cases.
“Anytime you have staff shortages in a hospital (s). Each time, today I believe, four Covid patients are waiting in ambulances to be able to find a hospital to go to. This constitutes an emergency and a public health crisis, ”Hutchinson mentioned.
In central Florida, Advent Health said it had around 1,000 Covid-19 patients on Thursday, surpassing the January peak of around 900, according to a press release.
In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice said the state’s Covid-19 task force will begin assessing PPE and readiness for state hospitals and nursing homes.
Justice said the state would work with Pfizer to conduct a “battlefield assessment” on the effectiveness of the vaccine’s antibodies in fighting the Delta variant.
“The enemy is coming, and the enemy is this Delta variant,” Justice said.
Experts may have answers on whether the US will need a recall by fall
Amid the wave, the conversation turned to whether boosters will be needed to improve vaccine protection – but many experts say the time is far away.
“Booster shots will come, better advice on who needs serological testing, when you check for antibodies, which ones you check, these will all come,” said Dr Joseph Kanter, head of public health at the Ministry of Health. Louisiana Health on a call from the Association of State and Territory Health Workers.
“I don’t think this changes anything about what we need to do right now, which is primarily to increase the base of the generally vaccinated population. “
Dr Nirav Shah, president of ASTHO and director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, agreed. “To be frank with you, right now I’m really focused on getting the first doses from people rather than the thirds,” Shah said.
Any decision on a booster dose depends on more data, a senior member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory board, Dr. Paul Offit, told CNN on Thursday.
It’s possible the United States will know by late summer or early fall, Murthy said. “We have followed more than 20 cohorts across the country, looking for evidence of when immunity may decline and when breakthrough infections may increase,” he said.
If the time comes when boosters are needed, Americans can get them “quickly and efficiently,” White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Hannah Sarisohn, Maggie Fox and John Bonifield, Shawn Nottingham, Deidre McPhillips, Rosa Flores, Kay Jones and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.