The Biden administration said on Tuesday that the highly transmitted coronavirus version, first detected in India, accounted for 6% of new infections. Vaccines are still very effective against this type of virus, which has spread rapidly in the UK and elsewhere.
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Anthony Fausi, revealed how far the version is penetrating the United States, but said the vaccines were slowing down.
“It is, in fact, taking its toll on the United Kingdom,” Faucin told reporters. “We can not allow this to happen in the United States, which is such a strong argument for vaccines,” he said.
Fauci cites data from the British Public Health Agency showing that two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech և AstraZeneca vaccines are 88% effective in preventing a new symptomatic disease known as delta. In an interview, he said that the data from Pfizer will be similar to the product of Moderna, which is also an mRNA vaccine.
But a single dose of the vaccine offers only 33% protection, the data show, which is a reminder of how strongly the second shot boosts immunity to the virus, Faucin said. Because the United States is providing vaccines to teens and other people waiting to receive them, second doses may be possible, he said.
Fausi, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the spread of the virus in Britain is “reaching” 12 to 20-year-olds, one of the groups the United States is rushing to vaccinate. He said the delta version now accounts for more than 60% of new infections in Britain. Some British scientists warn that the country is facing a third wave of infection.
The numbers are based on genomic control of cases in both countries.
At the same briefing, Roshel Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported a continuing decline in coronavirus cases in the United States. “A little over 10,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Monday, with an average of 13,277 cases in seven days,” he said.
The latest figure, which is considered more reliable, is the first time the average has fallen below 15,000 since March 27, 2020, Valensky said. He said daily hospitalizations on January 9 had dropped by 83% from their peak, with an average seven-day death rate of 379.
“Every week there are more and more data showing the effect of vaccination on disease prevention and getting us out of this epidemic,” said Valensky.
But recently, with the average daily vaccination rate below 1 million, the administration continues to expand the vaccine to reach inaccessible groups, including those who need to be relocated to vaccine sites, or workers who need to be vaccinated. President Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 70% of US adults by July 4, a target that is in jeopardy. So far, 13 states have reached that point.
Working Group Senior Adviser Andy Slavit said the American Hospital Association would help employers find medical partners to open vaccine-based vaccine sites during working hours, and Uber և Lyft will continue to provide free shipping to vaccine centers until July 4.
Marcella Nunes-Smith, head of the Coronavirus Health Justice Task Force, said pharmacies would be open late Friday evening in June. Over the past two weeks, more than half of the doses taken in pharmacies have gone to people of color who are pursuing whites to get vaccines, he said.