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US officials push for more Covid vaccinations as Delta variant gains

Travelers look at Covid-19 results after being tested at JFK International Airport in New York on December 22, 2020.

Hit by Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

Federal health officials continue to push for more Americans to be vaccinated, as the delta variant accounts for a larger share of new cases in the United States.

“You need to be vaccinated to be protected against Covid-1

9, the delta variant, and any other variant that may get in the way,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Thursday.

The variant, first discovered by researchers in India, has now spread to more than 80 countries and accounts for more than 10% of new cases in the United States. That is an increase from 6% last week.

“If you are vaccinated, you are protected, and if you are not, the threat of variants is real and growing,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy in the briefing Thursday after explaining that the delta variant is “significantly more transferable and can be more dangerous than previous variants.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified the delta variant as a concern variant “based on increasing evidence that the delta variant spreads more easily and causes more severe cases compared to other variants, including B.1.1.7 (Alpha).”

New cases and deaths have dropped dramatically in the United States thanks to generally successful vaccination campaigns in many states. Some pockets in the country are still seeing an increase in cases and admissions.

“We see that communities with the highest vaccination rates have lower numbers of new cases and admissions, and communities with the lowest vaccination rates have higher new cases and admissions,” Zients said.

The United Kingdom recently saw the delta variant become the dominant strain there, surpassing its original alpha variant, which was first discovered in the country last fall. The Delta variant now accounts for more than 60% of new cases in the UK

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said last week that “we can not let that happen in the United States,” as he pushed for more people to be vaccinated, especially young adults.

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