In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union news program on Sunday, Dr Vivek Murthy said almost all coronavirus-related deaths in the United States were among the tens of millions of people who have not been vaccinated.
“I am worried about what will happen as we are seeing more and more cases among the unvaccinated in particular. And while, if you are vaccinated, you are very well protected against hospitalization and death, unfortunately that is not true if you are not vaccinated, ”Murthy said.
His comments come as new cases of COVID-19 in the United States rose 70% this week from the previous seven days to an average of 30,000 new infections per day, fueled by the Delta variant.
Deaths also increased 26% week-over-week to an average of 250 per day, mostly among unvaccinated patients.
Last week, the head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) urged countries to continue enacting public health restrictions amid an increase in coronavirus cases in several countries in the Americas, including United States.
Carissa Etienne said on Wednesday that the region had reported nearly 74 million cases and 1.9 million deaths from COVID-19 in the previous week, representing more than a third of COVID cases worldwide and over 40% of reported deaths.
“Cases increase when complacency sets in,” Etienne said. “We are all tired, but after having experienced successive spikes in infections in the same places, we must break this cycle by adopting public health measures early and systematically. “
While the number of cases and hospitalizations in the United States is still well below the levels of the worst of the pandemic earlier this year, Murthy said the worsening situation shows the need to convince more people to to get vaccinated.
“This is our fastest and most efficient way out of this pandemic,” he said.
According to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Sunday, 59.4% of American adults – nearly 153.5 million people – were fully vaccinated, while 68.2% of adults had received at least one dose.
In Las Vegas, some resorts and casinos are again requiring employees to wear masks in response to a recommendation issued by health officials amid rising rates of COVID-19 cases in the state of Nevada ; it ranks fifth among U.S. states for the most new cases per capita over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reinstated rules on Saturday night requiring everyone to wear masks inside public buildings. Around the San Francisco Bay Area, which has some of California’s highest vaccination rates, health officials have recommended that everyone wear masks again inside public buildings, which regardless of their vaccination status.
But in conservative Alabama, where hospitalizations from COVID-19 have more than doubled in a month and where only about a third of the population is fully vaccinated, authorities have refused to reinstate health rules across the country. state or trying to encourage jabs with lotteries and other means.
“I think the best thing to do is just to encourage everyone to use common sense, exercise personal responsibility and make themselves and their families safe,” Governor Kay Ivey told reporters. last week.