The true delta wave begins after Labor Day, the Americans have warned. “It was a delta warning” – .

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The true delta wave begins after Labor Day, the Americans have warned. “It was a delta warning” – .


For weeks most Americans reverted to a semblance of their old life and the variant fed off their illusion of a failing Covid

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Despite the wave of Covid-19 deaths, the real wave of the fast-spreading delta variant begins after Labor Day weekend in the northeastern United States, warns the former Food and Beverage commissioner Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

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“I think there’s kind of a perception that we’re sort of through this delta wave here in the northeast because we’ve seen delta cases go up and down in places like the New York metro area. Gottlieb said on CNBC, referring to states like New York and Connecticut.

“I don’t think that’s the real delta wave,” Gottlieb said. “I think it was a delta warning. I think our real delta wave is going to start forming after Labor Day here in the northeast and north of the country. “

The warning comes after CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said Thursday that unvaccinated people should be careful before traveling over Labor Day weekend. “First and foremost, if you are not vaccinated, we recommend that you do not travel,” Walensky said.

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Sunstar paramedics admit a patient to the emergency room amid a COVID-19 outbreak in Clearwater, Florida on August 3. Photo de REUTERS/Octavio Jones

The fast-spreading variant flooded hospitals in the South. It has killed more people in Florida and Louisiana than on the darkest days of the pandemic winter, and has left so many Covid-19 patients breathless that some places face shortages of medical oxygen.

This harsh reality, likely fueled by a failure to adequately vaccinate the most vulnerable, has undermined the best efforts of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other Republican leaders to simply overtake Covid.

For weeks, the virus attacked America’s illusion of a failing Covid. Most people have returned to some semblance of their previous life, unaware that the country would return to such levels of mortality.

Nationally, mask use has fallen to a third of its previous peak. Traffic in restaurants and stores approached pre-pandemic standards. Major sporting events and music festivals are back. Now public health experts say the United States must reconsider some of these changes as reported Covid deaths exceed 1,000 per day, and the country suspiciously contemplates another winter virus season.

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“There was an underestimation of how the penetrating delta might be,” said William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University. “There was a desire to really open things up again, and I think it worked contrary to common sense. “

Gottlieb said Labor Day weekend rallies and returning students would serve as “incubators for the spread.”

“Now if we see a wave of infection as dense and severe as the South, I don’t think it will because we have a lot more vaccinations; we’ve had a lot of past infections, which we also know are protective, ”said Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 in the Trump administration. “But we’ll probably see a build-up of cases here in the northeast. I don’t think we’re done with this.

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For weeks until early August, the delta surge in the UK lulled some Americans into a sense of complacency. Across the Atlantic, cases have skyrocketed but killed relatively few people, and in theory the mutated virus would act the same in the United States. who remain the most at risk of hospitalization and death.

That is a big part of the US failure: around 18% of Americans 65 and over are still not fully vaccinated, compared to around 5% in the UK. “It’s a huge difference,” said Jeffrey Morris, professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. “When you have four times the proportion of unvaccinated people, it’s going to cause a lot more deaths there. “

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The United States has already recorded twice as many per capita deaths since early June as the United Kingdom, although its surge began later. In Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, tolls are 4 to 6 times higher – exacerbated by populations who tend to be older or have more pre-existing conditions.

Most states have prioritized vaccines for older members of the community, but Republican leaders at national and local levels have muddied the waters in their efforts to appeal to anti-immunization parties loyal to their electoral base. .

DeSantis of Florida and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have emphasized the freedom of residents to choose to be vaccinated, signing bills to limit or block so-called vaccine passports. In Florida, the passport ban even pitted DeSantis against the state’s cruise industry, a key job driver.

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Ultimately, only Vermont, Connecticut and Maine come close to the 95% vaccination threshold for people with the greatest need for vaccination.

DeSantis apparently believed the state’s efforts – which resulted in a senior immunization rate in line with the national average – were sufficient. On August 3, he boasted to a crowd at a press conference on restoring the park that mortality from Covid was well below the summer wave of the previous year.

All the turmoil around Delta has been fueled by “media hysteria,” he said. But DeSantis’ strategy failed to prevent deaths from rising soon after. As of August 15, deaths in Florida had reached an average of 244 per day over seven days, surpassing the previous peak of 227 a year earlier.

Delta’s arrival coincided with the height of the Mask Wars in the United States. In GOP strongholds in the South, governors have fought to ban governments or schools from requiring face coverings. DeSantis lost a battle last month when a group of parents won a lawsuit against the state. Florida is attractive.

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Disputes over masks rage even after a massive new study of more than 340,000 people provided perhaps the best evidence yet for their life-saving properties – fending off critics who said science was not everything just not strong enough.

The study carried out interventions in communities in Bangladesh and succeeded in increasing mask wear by 29 percentage points compared to the project control group. The increased masking coincided with a 12% reduction in Covid-like symptoms, and the benefits were even greater among the older and more vulnerable participants.

“That should totally end that specific argument” that the science is inadequate, said Jason Abaluck, Yale University economist and co-author of the study.

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But the United States has largely stopped using face covers, according to estimates released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Universal masking would save 52,000 lives in the United States by December 1, according to the IHME.

For DeSantis in particular, policies helped make him a superstar in the GOP and on Fox News, and he is frequently featured as a presidential candidate for 2024. He has flooded the area with beer koozies and t-shirts. with a catchy slogan aimed at President Joe Biden’s Best Virus Doctor, Anthony Fauci: “Don’t Fauci my Florida. “

But before DeSantis can run for president, he will hold a gubernatorial election next year. In a Quinnipiac University poll from August 17-23, 61% of voters in Florida said the recent spike in Covid cases was preventable. Just over half disapprove of the way DeSantis handled the response to the pandemic, according to the poll. “The pandemic could eclipse all the other positives it has in the state,” said Tim Mallory, Quinnipiac poll analyst.

In any case, the United States is unlikely to have seen the final act of Covid.

As the country heads into an uncertain winter, one silver lining remains: It could have been much worse. Morris, the biostatistics professor, noted that vaccines clearly prevent serious illness and death, and Covid optimists might have been right to disinfect Covid had it not been for the delta variant.

But now the math has changed. “Whatever cracks in the armor,” he said, “Delta will find them. “

Bloomberg, with additional reports from National Post staff

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