A report by experts from the Yale School of Public Health states the intensive vaccination campaign markedly controlled the pandemic in the United States.
The study concludes that the pace at which people were vaccinated in the country has saved more than 100,000 American lives and prevented up to 450,000 hospitalizations.
Sharing these data at a routine press briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials, COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients warned that there will likely continue to be an increase in cases among unvaccinated Americans and in communities with low vaccination rates, particularly given the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.
Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the United States are now occurring among unvaccinated individuals, according to him.
He said that although over the last six months, vaccine confidence in the U.S. increased from 34 percent to 68 percent as the result of a successful campaign about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The Biden administration is committed to vaccinate millions more individuals across the summer months.
“We will also intensify our efforts to bring vaccines to where many people spend the most time during the week: at workplaces and on school campuses,” he told reporters.
On the day Zients briefed the media, the global COVID death toll crossed 4 million.
Speaking at the same press conference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the Delta variant is spreading rapidly throughout the country.
This week, the Delta variant is estimated to be the most prevalent variant in the United States, representing over 50 percent of sequenced samples across the country, up from 26 percent from the week ending June 19.
And in some parts of the country, the percentage is even higher. For example, in parts of the Midwest and Upper Mountain states, CDC’s early sequence data suggests the Delta variant accounts for approximately 80 percent of cases.
“Although we expected the Delta variant to become the dominant strain in the United States, this rapid rise is troubling,” she told reporters.
The CDC director displayed a map to substantiate the fact that areas of low vaccination coverage have increasing case rates. Of the 173 counties with the highest case rates, the vast majority — 93 percent — have less than 40 percent vaccination of their residents.
Dr. Walensky said preliminary data from several states over the last few months suggests that 99.5 percent of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States were in unvaccinated people. Those deaths were preventable with a simple, safe shot, according to her.
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