Vaccinations are beginning to rise in some states where COVID-19 cases are soaring, White House officials said Thursday, and hospitals are running out of space because of the delta variant, which is “spreading with incredible efficiency.”
Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole. Officials cited Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada as examples.
“The fourth surge is real, and the numbers are quite frightening at the moment,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on a New Orleans radio show. Edwards, a Democrat, added: “There’s no doubt that we are going in the wrong direction, and we’re going there in a hurry.”
Meanwhile, officials downplayed so-called "breakthrough" cases, focusing their attention on the COVID-19 delta variant's impact on the unvaccinated.
Reports of athletes, lawmakers and others getting the coronavirus despite vaccination may sound alarming but top health experts point to overwhelming evidence that the shots are doing exactly what they are supposed to: dramatically reducing severe illness and death.
The best indicator: U.S. hospitalizations and deaths are nearly all among the unvaccinated, and real-world data from Britain and Israel support that protection against the worst cases remains strong. What scientists call "breakthrough" infections in people who are fully vaccinated make up a small fraction of cases.
Concerns about the variant's potential impact on the economy recovery are rising in the U.S. and abroad.
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