COVID 'becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated': US CDC chief
- The US health authorities have pleaded with the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 jab
- The US on Thursday recorded over 30,000 new COVID-19 cases
- The spike in COVID cases is largely driven by the spread of Delta variant
The US health authorities on Friday pleaded with the unvaccinated to get the jab for COVID-19, with the chief of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saying that it is "becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated." This came amid a rise in COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths, which are largely driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
"There is a clear message that is coming through: this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, reported news agency AFP.
The US recorded over 30,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the seven-day average up to 23,306. This is up by 70% since the week before.
Similarly, the seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 2,790 per day, which is an increase of 36%. Also, the seven-day average of deaths has increased by 26% to reach 211.
The virus surge is largely recorded in communities with low vaccination rates, said Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator. The "unvaccinated Americans account for virtually all recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths," he said.
First identified in India, the highly contagious Delta variant now accounts for more than 80% of the new COVID-19 cases in the US.
President Joe Biden had set July 4 (the day marks the US independence)as a target for 70% of adults to have received one or more doses. However, as per the latest count, only 67.9% of people have received the shot.
Notably, parts of the country that have low vaccination rates are those that voted for former president Donald Trump in the presidential elections last year, the news agency reported.
These include Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
However, the health authorities are hopeful that, since 80% of the most vulnerable age group of over-65s have been fully vaccinated, the rise in hospitalisations and deaths won't be as dramatic as the rise in the number of cases.
Meanwhile, an expert panel convened by the CDC will meet next week to examine whether immune-compromised people, whose bodies mounted a subpar response to COVID vaccines, may require a third vaccine dose, the CDC director said.