U.S. Coronavirus: If we want kids back to school and the economy thriving, more must be vaccinated in the U.S., says an expert
“If we want to keep our children in school, if we want to protect the economy, if we want our country to survive this pandemic, we have to leave no stone unturned to make sure that people are vaccinated,” said US Surgeon General Dr . Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. In light of the surge in new cases in 48 states, according to Johns Hopkins University, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all federal employees except the military must certify or undergo strict protocols, including testing once or twice per week, masking and other mitigation measures.
The data already shows the difference between areas with high and low vaccination rates.
According to a CNN analysis of federal data, the average hospitalization rates in states that have less than half of their residents fully vaccinated compared to states that have vaccinated more than half of their residents are nearly three times higher. And Covid-19 case and mortality rates over the past week are more than double that in states that have, on average, vaccinated less than half of their residents.
With only 49.4% of Americans fully vaccinated, former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams on Thursday that he expects further closings as the Delta variant continues to spread. And since some mask and vaccination regulations have already been implemented, Murthy expects more to be added.
“The private sector is already in the process of creating verification systems,” said Murthy. “What we are going to see more and more in the coming weeks and months, Anderson, is, I believe, we are going to see more universities, more hospitals, more companies, more retailers who want to make tough rules, people who get vaccinated. “
These types of mandates can make a difference in motivating Americans to get vaccinated, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health, on Thursday. Jha said other measures will help the US manage the transmission in the short term, but vaccine mandates will be part of the long term solution.
“I wish we had done these mandates a month early,” added Jha. “You would have made a bigger difference, but even doing it now will help.”
The enemy is the Delta variant, says Governor
Not only is the variant believed to be far more transmissible than other strains, but an internal report submitted to the CDC suggests that it can cause more serious illness and can be transmitted from vaccinated individuals as easily as it can from unvaccinated individuals if it causes breakthrough infections .
The document – a slideshow first received by the Washington Post – appears to have some data supporting the controversial decision made by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to change the agency’s guidelines on the use of masks.
The Delta variant is said to be about as communicable as chickenpox, with each infected person infecting an average of eight or nine others. The original lineage was about as communicable as the common cold, with each infected person passing the virus on to about two other people on average.
Some states are seeing the aftermath of the virus spread unfold.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that he is reinstating the public health emergency due to the surge in Covid cases.
“Whenever there are staff shortages in hospitals. If today I believe four Covid patients are waiting in ambulances to find a hospital to go to. This is an emergency and a public health crisis, ”Hutchinson said.
In central Florida, Advent Health said it had about 1,000 Covid-19 patients on Thursday, beating the January high of about 900, according to a press release.
In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice said the state’s Covid-19 Task Force will begin assessing PPE as well as preparing state hospitals and nursing homes.
Justice said the state would work with Pfizer to conduct a “battlefield assessment” of the vaccine’s antibodies’ effectiveness in combating the Delta variant.
“The enemy is coming and the enemy is this Delta variant,” said Justice.
Experts may have answers on whether the US needs boosters by fall
Amid the spike, the conversation has turned to whether boosters are needed to improve vaccine protection – but many experts say the time is still a long way off.
Booster shots are coming, better guidance on who needs serological testing Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
“I don’t think it will change what we need to do now, which is to increase the base of the generally vaccinated population.”
Dr. Nirav Shah, ASTHO President and Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, agreed. “To be honest, right now I’m really focusing on giving people the first dose rather than the third dose,” said Shah.
Any decision about a booster dose depends on additional data, said a prominent member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, Dr. Paul Offit, opposite CNN on Thursday.
It is possible the US could find out about this in late summer or early fall, Murthy said. “We tracked more than 20 cohorts across the country looking for evidence of when immunity might decline and when breakthrough infections might increase,” he said.
When the time comes that boosters are needed, Americans will be able to source them “quickly and efficiently,” Jeff Zients, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator, said Thursday.
Contributors to this report are Lauren Mascarenhas, Hannah Sarisohn, Maggie Fox and John Bonifield, Shawn Nottingham, Deidre McPhillips, Rosa Flores, Kay Jones and Virginia Langmaid of CNN.