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CDC: Vaccination best way to fight delta variant surge

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 10:32 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:08 PM CDT
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(CNN) – New cases of COVID-19 are rising in every state across the nation. The increase is 10% or more in all 50 states.

Still, there are glimmers of hope. Weekly vaccination rates are up 26% from just three weeks ago.

And while 49.5% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, it’s still far short of where the White House hoped to be by now.

The shortfall is especially acute in the South where there has been poor progress on vaccinations despite the region seeing the average number of shots in arms double in the last three weeks.

“As bad as things are right now in the South, they are about to get worse for lots of unvaccinated individuals,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

COVID cases in Florida have jumped by more than 50% in the past week.

In neighboring Georgia, the case rate has tripled in the past two weeks.

And in Louisiana, where they had the most cases per capita last week, daily vaccination rates jumped 11% from three weeks ago.

“The delta variant is a game-changer, and at this point, it’s not whether we vaccinate or mask, we have to do both,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

An internal document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the delta variant, which is fueling much of the rise across the country right now, produces similar viral loads in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who are infected.

Vaccinated people may also spread the variant at the same rate as unvaccinated people.

But it’s critical to note that breakthrough infections among vaccinated people are rare and vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease or death by 10 times or more.

The spike in cases comes as the CDC is pushing for vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in many places across the country, and President Joe Biden says more restrictions could be on the way.

Health experts agree that things could get much worse unless many more Americans get vaccinated.

“What we can say is that this virus is doing exactly as we predicted it would do,” said Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic.

“If we can’t get extremely high rates of vaccination – and those rates need to be higher than the original strain because of the increase in activity, we’re going to see more and more variants, some of which will be worse.”

The CDC has good news for the fully vaccinated.

Less than .001% of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 experienced a breakthrough case that resulted in death.

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