CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday warned of a ''pandemic of the unvaccinated'' as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise in the U.S.
''There’s a clear message that is coming through. This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,'' Walensky said during a press briefing. ''We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination rates because unvaccinated people are at risk.''
Walensky said communities that are fully vaccinated are ''generally faring well.''
''The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against COVID hospitalization and death and are even protected against the known variants, including the Delta variant circulating in this country,'' she said. ''If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk. And our biggest concern is that we’re going to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and sadly, deaths, among the unvaccinated.''
Walensky also reiterated the importance of getting fully vaccinated and said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are most effective, especially against the highly contagious Delta variant, which has caused over half of recent COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
White House COVID Coordinator Jeff Zients said at the briefing that unvaccinated Americans ''account for virtually all recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.''
The 7-day average of daily new cases is 24,141, up 65.9 percent from the week before, according to the CDC.
As of July 12, national forecasts predict 54,000-383,000 new COVID-19 cases will likely be reported during the week ending August 7. The number of new coronavirus cases is increasing in every state, even though 160 million people across the country are fully vaccinated.
Hot spots have emerged in parts of Missouri, Arkansas and Nevada in recent weeks and cases nationally are hovering at about 26,000 per day.
''This will definitely be a surge,'' Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times. ''It won’t be as big as what happened in January. But we still have 100 million people in the United States who are susceptible to COVID-19.''
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