More than 90 million eligible people in the United States remain unvaccinated. And while the seven-day average of people starting immunizations each day is the highest since July 4 at 446,300, many experts say the United States is still not where it needs to be to catch the pandemic – and the rapidly spreading Delta variant – under control.
With less than half of the population fully vaccinated, cases have increased again, causing serious illness.
On Tuesday, for the first time since February, more than 50,000 hospital beds across the country were occupied by Covid-19 patients, according to new data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. This number is more than triple what it was a month ago.
“We’re not crying wolf here. This wave that we are going through right now has all the potential to be – and already appears to be – the worst wave we have faced so far, ”said former US Surgeon General Dr Jerome. Adams said Tuesday in a live online interview with the Washington Post.
“We can do it when the warrants come, but it can’t be 250,000, 500,000 a day, otherwise it will go until winter. I want to get there sooner, ”Fauci said.
With the spread of the Delta variant, it might not be possible to completely stop the spread of the coronavirus, National Institutes of Health director Dr Francis Collins said on Tuesday.
“But we could always come to a place where it would become a nuisance instead of a threat to your life.” ”
Experts consider boosters for immunocompromised people, Fauci says
Although experts said the data so far did not indicate that the general population needed booster vaccines, Fauci said an effort was underway to obtain them for people who are immunocompromised.
Some conditions, including autoimmune diseases, transplants, and cancer treated with chemotherapy, compromise people’s immune systems.
“These people we know almost invariably don’t have an adequate response, so the need to give them an extra boost is much more urgent than the general population,” Fauci said at a virtual event hosted by the Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday.
CDC vaccine advisers have met to discuss whether immunocompromised people might need additional protection against a vaccine booster, but have yet to make a formal recommendation or vote on guidance.
“We are working to get the regulatory mechanism in place very quickly to give these people a boost that could raise their immunity to where it should be, if possible,” Fauci said.
In a discussion moderated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday, Fauci said it was “very likely” that variants of Covid-19 have evolved in the bodies of those who are immunocompromised.
People who are immunocompromised may be unable to fight off Covid-19 infections for weeks or even months, which means the virus has plenty of time to evolve and change.
“Variants, we all know, have arisen due to the strain that the human immune system put on the virus, most likely from people who are immunocompromised … and who had the virus in them for days and days and days before eliminating it and / or died, then essentially led to the emergence of a variant, ”Fauci said.
“Substantial” increase in cases in children and adolescents
As the new school year raises concerns about protecting children from Covid-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics said on Tuesday there had been a “substantial” increase in cases among children.
Nearly 72,000 children and adolescents caught Covid-19 last week – five times more than at the end of June, the group said.
The definition of a child varies by state, but generally includes those up to the age of 17 or 18.
Covid-19 protocols vary across the country, but when children return to school, districts will need to know how to respond quickly to outbreaks.
Districts must be prepared to embrace contact tracing, testing, quarantining those exposed to the virus and isolating those infected, said Dr William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and medical director of the National Foundation. for infectious diseases, told CNN.
While most schools follow these steps to isolate cases, trace contacts, and test, response plans may vary from state to state and school district to school district, Kim told CNN. Anderson, executive director of the National Education Association.
“From what we understand, it depends on the district you are in. The district should have very well thought-out epidemic plans that have included the voices of educators, parents and community members in developing those plans, and they should have plans that follow the recommendations of the CDC, ”he said. Anderson said.
“Our recommendation to all students and school districts is to follow the medical experts and follow the CDC,” she said.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Matthew Hilk, Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Lauren Mascarenhas, and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.