Delta Variant Now Responsible for Approximately Half of New US COVID-19 Cases
Biden Announces New Outreach Plan to Target Unvaccinated Americans
Just days after President Joe Biden and his team celebrated the 4th of July with its first large party at the White House, his administration is cautioning Americans that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. Concerns over the spread of the virus have been heightened over the last few weeks as the Delta variant continues to spark worry in the medical community. Here is what you need to know about the Delta variant and how the White House plans to beat it.
The Delta Variant ExplainedRead More »
What is most concerning about this particular strain of the virus is its transmissibility. Countless studies have shown that this strain spreads much faster and more easily than previous variants. In addition, some research out of the UK has indicated that the strain may also increase the risk of hospitalization and serious complications.
New Study Out of Israel Sheds Light on Vaccine Efficacy
What may be most concerning about the emerging Delta variant is that preliminary research shows that the COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective against this particular strain. New research out of Israel studied the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against infections at the hands of the Delta variant. The news is not promising.
The Israeli government revealed the data on Monday, stating that as of June 6, the Pfizer vaccine only offered 64% protection against the virus. This compares to an efficacy rate of about 95% with previous strains. In addition, the report demonstrated that the vaccine was just 93% effective in preventing serious complications or hospitalizations compared to a whopping 97% with previous studies.
This research is applicable to the US because Israel is one of the few countries with a vaccination rate as high as the majority of America. US health officials also point out that confirmed cases are increasing in states that are below the national vaccination rate.
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For example, only 35% of residents in Arkansas are fully vaccinated. As of Sunday, the state was averaging 16 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. This represents a jump of over 25% since the past week. Other states seeing surges in new cases include Missouri, Alabama, and Mississippi.
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Conversely, states with much higher vaccination rates are still seeing a dramatic decline in cases. This includes the West Coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the majority of New England. Scientists are using this data to promote the importance of vaccines in winning the fight against the pandemic.
Biden Address Media Regarding COVID-19:
Biden addressed the concerns of the rapidly expanding Delta variant during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday. During the event, Biden predicted that the US will reach the goal of 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by the end of this week. The president also used the time in front of the press to outline how his administration will work to reach those Americans still hesitant about getting the vaccine.
Falling Short of Vaccination Goals
The Biden administration has acknowledged that they fell short of their aggressive goal to have 70% of eligible adult Americans with at least one dose of the vaccine prior to the 4th of July. According to CDC data, roughly 67% of adults had received at least one dose prior to Independence Day.
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Despite not reaching this goal, the president and the first lady moved ahead with their plans to celebrate the progress of the nation in fighting the pandemic. The family hosted their first major party at the White House on the 4th of July when they invited approximately 1,000 revelers to the South Lawn to celebrate Independence Day. The event culminated with a massive fireworks display on the National Mall.
White House Outreach Efforts
In response to the growing concern over the Delta variant, the White House is going full steam ahead to try to control the potential surge in cases. Biden detailed five key initiatives designed to protect the US population against the Delta variant through the use of vaccines.
The first step will be targeted outreach that will highlight scientific data and information regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. This outreach is engineered to convince those stragglers who may still be on the fence.
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The second step is to target the age group of those in the 12 – 18 range. This will be done by encouraging pediatricians to vaccinate kids as they come in for routine checkups prior to the start of the new school year. Along with this initiative, a third tenet of the plan will be to ensure that all primary care doctors and health care providers have plenty of access to the vaccine. Americans routinely state that they trust their personal doctor more than government officials. As such, the Biden administration is going to lean on health care providers to be the encouragement that some of the most hesitant Americans need to sign up for the vaccine.
Biden will also be expanding mobile clinics with a goal of making the vaccine more accessible to everyone. This includes setting up clinics at places of business and helping employees to get paid time off to get the vaccine.
Lastly, Biden said that his administration will forge ahead with its work with governors and officials at the local level to get more shots in the arms of Americans.
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