The country has had an average of fewer than 14,400 daily reported infections and 427 deaths in the past seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University. It’s the lowest level the U.S. has seen since late March 2020, just weeks after the pandemic was first declared.
The good news is that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 42% of Americans are fully vaccinated while nearly 52% received at least one dose of the vaccine.
However, health experts warn that the recent delay in vaccination rates is leaving millions unprotected against variants of Covid-19 that have entered the US from other parts of the world.
The US peaked daily vaccination on April 1, with more than 4.3 million people vaccinated in one day, according to the CDC. Since then the numbers have plummeted. Over the past week, an average of around 560,000 Americans were vaccinated every day.
As the US enters what the former CDC director called the “Slog Phase of the Vaccination Campaign,” health experts have drawn attention to both the reluctance of vaccination and accessibility issues.
According to an initial announcement by the Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, the Houston Methodist was the first major healthcare system in the US to require Covid-19 vaccinations on March 31, starting with managers.
Boom told CNN that those who did not adhere to his vaccination hospital’s guidelines have been suspended after violating medical standards.
“Each of our professional standards requires us to put patients first, to protect our patients by all we can. So those who choose not to vaccinate are basically saying they are against it Principles of our profession and they don’t put the patient first, “Boom said.
Variants: The “strong argument” for vaccination
Experts warn that Covid-19 variants, such as variant B.1.617.2, first identified in India, pose a significant risk to those who are not vaccinated and rely on their immunity to prior infection.
The spread and dominance of the UK variant, which was first badly hit by the alpha variant – B.1.1.7 – could mean trouble for the US if people are not vaccinated, Fauci said in a Covid report from White house. 19 Briefing.
“We can’t let that happen in the United States,” Fauci said in a Covid-19 briefing at the White House on Tuesday, adding that it was “such a strong argument” to get vaccinated.
Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, warned that the Delta variant “may be associated with increased disease severity, such as the risk of hospitalization, compared to (the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7)” .
The variant is susceptible to available two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, he said, but protection from those vaccines requires adherence to a two-dose regimen.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine is reduced at one dose,” said Fauci. “Three weeks after a dose, both vaccines, the (AstraZeneca) and Pfizer / BioNtech, were only 33% effective against Delta symptomatic diseases.”
He added that variant-specific boosters might be on the horizon.
Even those who have already had coronavirus should get vaccinated, as research shows that immunity achieved from vaccination is better than immunity from a previous infection, Fauci said.
CDC issues new international travel advice
The CDC uses levels 1 to 4 to determine a threat in a particular country, with 1 being the lowest risk and 4 being the highest risk, depending on the number of Covid-19 cases. At each level, the CDC advises vaccination, but its guidelines for unvaccinated individuals vary depending on the severity of the pandemic in each country.
Iceland, Israel and Singapore were placed in the lowest risk category on Monday. Brazil, India and Iraq are currently at Level 4, which means they have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 people in the past 28 days.
For level 3 countries such as Mexico, Russia and Iran, the CDC advises against unnecessary travel for unvaccinated people. These countries currently report 100 to 500 cases per 100,000 population.
The agency also recommends that unvaccinated travelers who are at high risk of developing serious illness from Covid-19 should not visit Level 2 countries, including Finland, Cambodia and Kenya.
Finally, Tier 1 countries like Australia and New Zealand are considered to be the lowest risk travel destinations that have reported fewer than 50 Covid-19 cases in the past 28 days. The CDC still recommends getting vaccinated before traveling to a place with low risk.
CNN’s Hollie Silverman, Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Ryan Prior and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.
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