The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, despite a huge percentage of the country being vaccinated. On Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussed the current state of the pandemic with TODAY, warning about COVID hotspots, and COVID deaths. Read on for her 6 key takeaways—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
The Pandemic Is Not Over Yet, Warns Dr. Walensky
Dr. Walensky warned that the pandemic is still very much going on. "We're getting more and more people vaccinated every single day," she said. However, "we still had 57,000 cases of COVID yesterday. We still had 733 deaths. And so while we are really trying to scale up vaccination, we have this complex message that we still have hotspots in this country." Michigan, for example, is seeing a rise in cases. "And we will be looking at the outdoor masking question, but it's also in the context of the fact that we still have people who are dying of COVID."
Don't Let Hesitancy Stop You
The CDC is trying to "understand why people might be hesitant," Dr. Walensky revealed. "Is it the science that they feel was rushed?" she asked. "My job now is to make sure that every American knows that this vaccine is available to them, that it is safe, that it is effective and that they should go and get back to them," she added later on in the interview
Why Herd Immunity Is Crucial
Dr. Walensky also touched upon the importance of her immunity. "You know, the value of herd immunity is very much dependent on how transmissible the virus is and with these variants that may in fact be a moving target," she explained. "Here's what I do know. I know the more the population gets vaccinated, the more people we have vaccinated, the less transmission will happen."
On Whether Vaccinated People Can Spread COVID
"It is a really important question that we're following and there are numerous studies now that are starting to emerge that give us important data," she revealed. "So we know that the vaccine in real-world studies is somewhere between 85, 95% effective. And some of the questions are, does that mean that you're not getting sick or you're not getting the virus?" She then mentioned the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released a month ago. "We're actually finding that people are not getting the virus at all. So what about those people who are breakthrough, who do get the virus and increasingly data suggests that about a third of them?" she continued. "Even if they get the virus, they are completely asymptomatic and many of them have such low virus that they can't transmit to others. Now, we still need more data in this area, but increasingly we're getting more and more data that suggest that even those breakthrough infections may be less symptomatic and less likely to transmit."
On Why Masks Are Still Important
When asked why we still have to wear masks, Dr. Walensky pointed out that no vaccine is perfect. "Ultimately this is going to be a matter of risk, but what I can say is a 95% effective vaccine is extraordinarily effective. If we can have a 95% effective vaccine and we can get our caseload's down, then we'll be in really good state for the country."
Keep Doing Your Part to End the Pandemic
So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.