The news from today's White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing was promising, with talk of a July 4th celebration like no other—COVID-19 deaths are going down, and cases overall continue to fall. However, something lurks within: The Delta variant, a more transmissible version of the coronavirus that is infecting a very specific group of people. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned about the problem today. Read on to hear who he says is spreading COVID, and which states are in danger—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Dr. Fauci Said Undervaccinated Young People are Spreading COVID
"Our aspirational goal for July 4th was 70% of the adult population receiving at least one dose, but that is not the goal line, nor is it the end game. The end game is to go well beyond that beyond July 4th into the summer and beyond with the ultimate goal of crushing the outbreak completely in the United States. Now we don't one of the main obstacles for that. Obviously it's under vaccinated people and under regions of the country, particularly among the young, particularly among individuals 18 to 26, although any age of an unvaccinated person is someone we need to get vaccinated as we concentrate on the younger," said Dr. Fauci.
Dr. Fauci Said the New Delta Variant is Very Threatening
"There are 16 states plus the District of Columbia that have vaccinated greater than 70%, four US states have vaccinated less than 50. And so between them, you have 30 states between 50 and more than 70%," said Dr. Fauci. "And those are the individuals that we need to concentrate on, but let's take a look at what the challenge is. If you look at the growing threat of what we're all concerned about, the Delta variant, what do we know about that variant? The transmissibility is unquestionably greater than the wild type SARS Cov 2, as well as the Alpha variants. It is associated with an increased disease severity as reflected by hospitalization risk compared to alpha and in lab tests associated with monitors, decreased neutralization by Sars, from previously infected and vaccinated individuals."
Dr. Fauci Warned We Could Become Like the UK
"Let's take a look at the UK because we have followed the UK in so many respects with regard to the" alpha variant, he said. He showed a slide in which the Delta variant subsumed the Alpha cases very quickly, becoming the dominant strain, representing more than 95% of cases. "The Imperial College of London did a study of over a hundred thousand homes and looked and found that youth were driving the UK surge with a five fold, highest positivity among children, five to 12 and young adults, 18 to 24 versus people older than 65 years old." As for the USA? "We seem to be following the pattern with the Delta variant with a doubling time of about two weeks."
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Now for the Good News
"The good news is one of our tools, the effectiveness of the vaccines in this case, two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer, BioNTech was 88% effective against the Delta at 93% effective against the alpha when you're dealing with symptomatic disease," said Dr. Fauci. "When you look at hospitalizations, again, both the Pfizer BioNTech and the Oxford AstraZeneca are between 92 and 96% effective against hospitalizations. You put all of these things together and you come to what we would call a self-evident conclusion, similar to the situation in the UK. The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the US to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19" however the "vaccines are effective against the Delta variant conclusion. We have the tools, so let's use them and crush the outbreak."
How to End This 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.