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COVID-19 cases are continuing to spike in communities where vaccination rates are low, leading to what CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, called “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Walensky reported sobering numbers during a news conference Friday: The most recent 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases was more than 26,300, up 70% from the previous week. The average of daily deaths is now 211 – an increase of 26%.
“There is a clear message that’s coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said. “We are seeing outbreaks in parts of the country where we’re seeing low vaccination coverage.”
She continued, “The good news is, if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re protected … our biggest concern is we are going to continue see preventable cases, hospitalizations, and sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated.”
Walensky said rates have gone down considerably since the peak of the pandemic when the country saw 200,000 cases per day. However, because of the highly transmissible Delta variant, we are “in a critical moment in the pandemic.”
When asked if breakthrough infections – illness caused by COVID-19 in vaccinated people – is contributing to the spread of the Delta variant, infectious disease expert Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said it is unlikely.
Research shows the viral load among those who are vaccinated is so low that transmission is unlikely, but, he said, there is not sufficient clinical data on that yet.
Fauci said as of June 2021, the variant had made it to 100 countries around the world.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said four states accounted for 40% of new cases last week – one in five coming from Florida.
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