As the Delta variant continues to surge, the US could soon reach more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases every day. Unvaccinated Americans will comprise the majority of the probable victims. This is according to Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health.
Never Thought US Will Return To 200,000 COVID-19 Cases
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Dr. Collins said he expects things to get worse. He said he expects “200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks, and that’s heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in that space again.
But here we are with the Delta variant, which is so contagious, and this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated, who are sitting ducks for this virus, and that’s the mess we’re in.”
At present, the numbers are much lower. The US is now dealing with an average of 129,000 COVID-19 cases daily over the last seven days. Sadly, this number keeps rising since July 5, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The last time the US averaged over 200,000 COVID-19 cases per day was in January. This was before Covid-19 vaccines became widely available.
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Hospitals Overrun With COVID-19 Cases
Like the pre-vaccine days, the resurgence is wreaking havoc on health care facilities nationwide. Many hospitals are now struggling to provide medical care to all patients. According to CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, “The system is breaking. It’s not just the beds. Many hospitals can find beds in places like parking structures or cafeterias.
But it’s qualified people to staff those beds. And the United States is critically short on ICU nurses, so finding the qualified staff to take care of critically ill patients becomes increasingly hard,” he explained. Reiner is a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.
In a bizarre twist, the current COVID-19 cases are made up mostly of the younger population. Older Americans over 65 years of age are more likely vaccinated, with 90% with at least one shot. As a result, the Delta variant is now terrorizing younger populations. In fact, hospitalization rates for Americans in their 30s increased by 300% compared to last month.
The Solution Is Vaccination
Health experts insist that the solution is to vaccinate as many Americans as possible. At the least, COVID-19 vaccines mitigate the deadlier symptoms of the coronavirus. However, only 50.7% of Americans completed their vaccination. This means slightly more than half the population needs to get a shot.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the time to get vaccines is now. “We are going to have to continue to get people vaccinated so that right now, even in states in which you have a good relative proportion of people vaccinated, you have to get the overwhelming proportion of people vaccinating,” he said on “Face the Nation” last Sunday.
Extra Doses For Immunocompromised Americans
Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized last Thursday an additional vaccine dose for immunocompromised Americans.
This ensures that the riskiest groups can get additional immune responses to the vaccine. The CDC’s vaccine advisers voted unanimously to recommend the additional dose. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky quickly endorsed the vote, which gives the green light for immunocompromised people to get third doses right away.
Booster shots will also be made available for the rest of the population soon, especially the elderly. This is because health officials remain concerned that the Delta variant can resist the initial vaccine’s protection.
“There is a concern that the vaccine may start to wane in its effectiveness over months, and Delta is a nasty one for us to try to deal with. The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe beginning first with health care providers, as well as people in nursing homes and then gradually moving forward,” Collins said.
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