Unvaccinated people see sharp rise in new coronavirus cases as Delta variant becomes more prevalent in the United States

According to CDC director Rochelle Walensky, the Delta variant now represents 83% of all COVID cases in the United States, a 33% increase from two weeks ago. Walensky added that 99.5% of all COVID-related deaths in the country in recent months were among unvaccinated Americans.

“This is a critical time during our pandemic and we are particularly concerned about areas like the South East, the South and the mountain states where it is a perfect storm brewing – low vaccination rates, lack of measures mitigation, high prevalence of Delta variant, high cases, low tests, high positivity rates, high hospitalizations, ”said Dr Anand Parekh, chief medical adviser at Bipartisan Policy Center and former deputy assistant secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), on Yahoo Finance Live (video above).

Current COVID-19 hot spots in the United States include Missouri, Arkansas and Florida, according to the Mayo Clinic, highlighting Parekh’s point. Florida now leads the United States in COVID cases, accounting for about 20% of all new infections in the country.

“This is really the driving force behind what we are seeing nationwide: a tripling of cases up to about 30,000 on average over seven days, hospitalizations on the rise,” Parekh said. “Again, vaccinations are the answer here, and masking will be essential as well.”

“What worries me the most is the misinformation”

Most of the remaining unvaccinated Americans have not budged from their position to withdraw from the vaccine.

A recent survey of 1,715 American adults from Yahoo News / YouGov found that only 29% of them think the virus is more dangerous than vaccines. Meanwhile, 37% believe vaccines pose more risks.

“What worries me the most is disinformation, that is, the falsification or deliberate falsification of information,” Parekh said. “This has to be the number one priority. It just cannot be acceptable… It is really important to address the issue of disinformation. The misinformation that we’re going to have to keep working on. It’s education, but tackling disinformation must be the number one priority.

Social networks play a major role in the spread of disinformation. Facebook (FB) has recently been criticized for not doing enough to stop COVID-related misinformation on its platform, with President Biden going so far as to say that companies like Facebook are “killing people.”

“At the end of the day, Americans will have to decide for themselves,” Parekh said. “I hope everyone gets vaccinated, but Americans should have the facts to make the decision. But disinformation, when you have actors who willfully falsify information, I think private sector partners such as the tech industry absolutely need to take action. They must make the actions they take publicly known.

President Biden reiterated his hope that Facebook will improve policing of vaccine misinformation on its platform on July 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

‘VAcination is really our way out of this pandemic ‘

As disinformation continues to spread, more and more vulnerable Americans are falling ill with the virus.

Hospitalizations have increased 45% and deaths have increased 75% in the past two weeks, despite a 13% drop in testing. The pace of vaccinations has also started to slow down.

“In America you have two realities,” Parekh said. “One for Americans who are vaccinated, who are protected against the Delta variant, and those who are not vaccinated, who face a threat like they have never seen before. This Delta variant is not the same virus we saw a year ago. It is highly transmissible. It can even lead to more serious illness.

For those vaccinated, their job is largely done, although Parekh recommended always wearing face masks to prevent potential infections, which are extremely rare.

“Masking is important because it breaks the chains of transmission,” Parekh said. “Masking is important to reduce transmission as well as to protect yourself. We know both are true. It’s about protecting others who may not be vaccinated. It also protects you against potential breakthrough infections. “

Due to the recent increase in cases, some cities and counties have reinstated mask warrants regardless of vaccination status, including places like Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I think the message is, especially for those who are not vaccinated, that vaccination is really our way out of this pandemic,” Parekh said. “Until you are vaccinated, masking in public will also be essential. “

Adriana Belmonte is a journalist and health policy and policy editor for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at [email protected]

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