The highly contagious variant, which first emerged in the UK, has now spread to all 50 states – as experts warn that there are not enough vaccines available to prevent it from causing a new wave of cases.
More than 15,000 cases have already been detected across the United States by the B117 variant, which is thought to be more transmissible and deadly than previous versions, CNN reported.
“America seems to be done with the pandemic. The virus is not finished with us, “said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, the outlet.
While vaccines are effective against the variant, they are not rolled out fast enough to prevent it from bringing cases up.
“We are not going to have enough vaccines as we go, in the arms of enough Americans over the next six to ten weeks with this wave that we will stop it,” Osterholm said. “It just will not happen.”
Osterholm said the vaccination effort should focus on getting as many first doses of shots to the Americans as possible.
“Right now with the wave that is happening, what we want to do right now is to get as many people protected as possible so that they do not get serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths,” Osterholm said.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned against delaying the second dose to prioritize getting as many shots in the arms as possible.
“You are in a weak zone if you do not have the full impact,” said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about not receiving the full vaccine regimen.
“So there is some merit in the arguments that are put forward. But right now considering the number of vaccines we are able to give every day, literally every day that goes by, we are getting closer and closer to where we want to be. ”