Nearly every new Covid-19 death is now entirely preventable, CDC director says

The dangerous Delta variant poses a risk as the United S...

Posted: Jun 23, 2021 4:45 PM
Updated: Jun 23, 2021 8:00 PM

The dangerous Delta variant poses a risk as the United States works to ease out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts say the nation has the tools needed to overcome the threat -- if the public takes advantage of them.

'Covid-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up,' US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday at a White House briefing. 'They are nearly 100% effective against severe disease and death -- meaning nearly every death due to Covid-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to Covid-19 is at this point entirely preventable.'

Those still dying from Covid-19 in the US are 'overwhelmingly' unvaccinated, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN.

As of Wednesday, 65.6% of the adult population in the US have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. While that seems close to President Joe Biden's goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, experts are concerned about declining rates of new vaccinations and the difficulty in motivating those still hesitant to get inoculated.

'This virus is an opportunist,' Walensky said. 'As long as there are those who are not vaccinated, Covid-19 will remain a threat.'

The Delta variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and more dangerous, could be the dominant strain in areas of the US that have low vaccination rates in a matter of weeks, Fauci told 'CBS This Morning' on Wednesday.

While Fauci thinks a return to the high virus numbers of 2020 is unlikely, communities with low vaccination rates could experience localized surges because of the Delta variant, he said earlier this week. Full vaccination with current vaccines is effective against the variant, he has said.

'For those areas where you have a high vaccination rate, you're not going to see' Delta become dominant, Fauci told CBS. 'Again, another powerful reason why we need to get vaccinated.'

Even if 75% of eligible Americans were vaccinated, a Delta-like variant could result in Covid-19 bouncing back from summer lows to cause more than 3,000 deaths per week in the US at various points during the fall and winter, a recent research model showed.

That would be about 1,000 more Covid-19 deaths than the US has seen over the past week, though still far below the peak of 24,000 deaths during the second week of January, according to the model from the Covid-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a project involving researchers from 13 institutions.

Wyoming county sees outbreak ahead of famous rodeo event

Some areas of the country are seeing a rise in cases in the past few weeks.

Wyoming's Laramie County is facing a outbreak as it reports a 'fairly high number' of Delta variant cases, according to Health Department Executive Director Kathy Emmons.

There were 330 Covid-19 cases in Wyoming during the week of June 14 to June 20, according to Emmons. Of those 330 cases, 181 are from Laramie County, with 28 attributed to the Delta variant.

Emmons said less than a third of the county is fully vaccinated and several large gatherings have contributed to the high number of cases.

She said the virus 'just has spread like wildfire through those groups' at the gatherings.

Emmons is concerned because Cheyenne Frontier Days, a rodeo event with nightly shows, that often draws more than 100,000 people, is scheduled for July 23-August 1.

'This year is the 150th anniversary, so we've worked very closely with the CFD (Cheyenne Frontier Days) committee to put into place safety measures,' she said.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, five states, including Missouri, have seen a rise in cases over the past seven days compared to the previous seven-day period.

Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, a healthcare system in Springfield, Missouri, told CNN this week they have seen a six-fold increase in hospitalizations in his system.

'I think it is the Delta variant and there is a lot of kindling with low vaccination rates, so it's spreading very rapidly,' Edwards said. 'Almost all of our cases are unvaccinated people that, in my opinion, have put themselves in harm's way during this pandemic.'

Using TikTok to reach young adults

Standing in the way of closing the vaccination gap are young people and states with low vaccination rates, Fauci said.

'It's a combination of some states and regions that are below where we need them to be,' Fauci told CNN. 'Within that context, it's younger people -- particularly 18 to 26 -- where you really want to try and get them to get vaccinated.'

Fewer than half of the adults in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to data from the CDC.

And even in high vaccination states, like Vermont, young adults are a 'tough nut to crack,' Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine told CNN.

As of Monday, 81.3% of eligible Vermonters had started the vaccination process. Levine said he knows that if he can get that younger demographic to get vaccinated, the state numbers would look even better 'because there are thousands of thousands of them and we do think they want to be vaccinated.'

Levine is confident that the college-going part of this age group will get vaccinated, if they haven't already, because most colleges and universities in the state have required, or will require, the vaccine. He still has some concerns about the 18- to 29-year-olds who are in the work force and not in college.

'Most of them are not a truly vaccine-resistant group,' Levine said. 'They don't have that strong polarized view. They're mostly in the category where it's just not at the top of their list right now.'

Levine said one strategy that might work is to make vaccinations and information so accessible that young people stumble onto it -- and Fauci has taken on the challenge with a TikTok.

'I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams I would be doing TikTok with people today,' Fauci told CNN, noting misinformation about the vaccine has been spreading on social media.

'We've got to go out there and push the envelope out in the media -- including the media that's giving misinformation,' Fauci said.

A new target date for vaccinations

Officials and experts have been putting extra effort into increasing vaccination rates as the country is on a path to fall short of Biden's goal to have 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

'We've made tremendous progress in our vaccination efforts to date, and the ultimate goal has been to get America back to normal,' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week.

Fauci said the new time period officials have set their focus on is mid-July.

'If you look at the rate now, it's probably going to be within the first couple of weeks of July,' Fauci said. 'Maybe the second or third week of July.'

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, said he does not think it's a 'big deal' for the nation to fall slightly short of the July 4 target.

'You set a goal. If you reach it, great. If you don't, you keep going to try and reach it and go beyond it,' he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1342777

Reported Deaths: 21471
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1502191556
Cuyahoga1327732318
Hamilton962791318
Montgomery659161136
Summit555141045
Lucas50248862
Butler46732653
Stark40741974
Lorain31004529
Warren29609328
Mahoning26462637
Clermont25206287
Lake24339416
Delaware22014143
Licking20180241
Fairfield20139221
Greene19955268
Trumbull19500508
Medina19478286
Clark17565325
Richland15949231
Portage15851228
Wood15438208
Allen13875256
Miami13549249
Muskingum12261149
Wayne11647237
Columbiana11344239
Tuscarawas10657265
Marion10509148
Pickaway10301128
Scioto10082126
Erie9618171
Ross9209174
Lawrence8516116
Hancock8298141
Ashtabula8180185
Geauga8066155
Belmont7966184
Jefferson7324168
Huron7253127
Union717849
Washington7037119
Athens681064
Sandusky6734133
Darke6559136
Knox6475121
Seneca6237137
Ashland5808112
Auglaize580488
Shelby5654101
Mercer552190
Brown551068
Defiance5361100
Madison535170
Crawford5299114
Highland527581
Fulton520082
Clinton515980
Logan503182
Preble4902110
Putnam4778106
Guernsey454661
Williams448281
Champaign436264
Perry432152
Ottawa431184
Jackson413260
Pike378941
Morrow369150
Fayette367652
Coshocton359466
Hardin350069
Adams348069
Gallia338054
Holmes3197108
Henry318868
Van Wert307170
Hocking291669
Wyandot276158
Carroll256752
Paulding236442
Meigs205242
Monroe185049
Noble164840
Morgan159228
Harrison151940
Vinton133918
Unassigned05
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