Washington: The US government officials warned that the country is seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant of coronavirus. The US is at another pivotal moment in this pandemic, said the officials.
Director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky said that the Delta variant is "now spreading with incredible efficiency". She added that this variant is "more aggressive" compared to the original coronavirus strain that caused the outbreak of early 2020 in the country.
Walensky called the Delta variant one of the most infectious respiratory viruses seen in her 20-year-long career. She was speaking at White House briefing and warned that the country is "not out of the woods".
Areas with low vaccination rates in the states are seeing an increase in Covid-19 patients. Some hospitals are reaching maximum capacity very quickly. The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not concluded whether those who are vaccinated should be wearing masks mandatorily, reported The Guardian.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to the president said that the Delta variant now accounts for over 83% of new cases. He noted that the Delta variant accounts for over 90% of new patients in some areas of the country.
Fauci told NPR News that the country has got to do much better because the recent seven-day or 14-day averages show an increase of 195%. He added that the hospitalisations are up by 46%. There has been an increase of 42% in the 14-day average of Covid-19 deaths.
In early 2020, the US saw repeated surges of infections which led to the highest death toll in the world. During the first wave of the pandemic, over 600,000 fatalities were reported in the US. Now, the situation is very different due to the wide availability of vaccines. Officials are concerned due to the fast rise in the cases over the past two weeks. Vaccination rates have been stagnant below the goal announced by President Joe Biden.
In May, Biden had said that those who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask or practice social distancing. He also has been urging all eligible Americans to get the shots and calling it "gigantically important," said The Guardian report.