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Highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for 83% of coronavirus cases in US, CDC says

“This is a dramatic increase, compared to 50% for the week of July 3,” Walensky said at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“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.”

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 CNN’s Anderson Cooper . “This means that we shouldn’t let our guard down until not only are cases 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 rise in 44 states, according to data from Johns University Hopkins. In addition, hospitalizations are up 26% from last week.

And 99.5% 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 earlier in the month.

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

“I’m heartbroken 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 – the father of two children aged 3 and 4 – said he was taking such precautions because “I want to take all possible measures to protect my child”.

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

The pediatric association recommends masks in schools

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 2 years of age.

Highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for 83% of coronavirus cases in US, CDC says

“The AAP believes that at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of transmission 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 from some of 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’s 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 breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals, “Fauci said.” 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.

Local leaders urge residents to put on masks

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.

Highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for 83% of coronavirus cases in US, CDC says

“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 vaccine verification prior to admission.”

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

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

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Lauren Mascarenhas, Sarah Braner, Naomi Thomas, Jacqueline Howard and Elizabeth Stuart, Cheri Mossburg, Kay Jones and Christina Bowllan contributed to this report.


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