The U.S. reaches 70% vaccination rate-one month late with the surge
On Monday, the United States finally achieved President Joe Biden’s goal of injecting at least 70% of American adults with the COVID-19 vaccine—a goal that was a month late and coincided with a surge in delta variants At this time, the virus is sweeping hospitals and leading to new mask regulations and mandatory vaccination nationwide.
During a major retreat in the southern hinterland, Louisiana ordered almost everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public places, including schools and universities, and other cities and states also took action to restore preventive measures. In response to the crisis caused by fasting-spreading mutations and stubborn resistance to vaccines.
Dr. Sergio Segarra, Chief Medical Officer of Miami Baptist Hospital, lamented: “We discharged them as soon as possible. They came in and were very sick. We started to see the whole family fall down. The Florida Medical Center chain reported that in the past two weeks, the number of people hospitalized with the virus has now increased by more than 140%.
Biden set a 70% vaccination target by July 4. This number is the low end of the government’s preliminary estimate of the conditions needed to achieve herd immunity in the United States, but it is no longer enough because the highly infectious delta variant makes the virus come back.
There were no celebrations at the White House on Monday and no new goals were set, as the government is working hard to overcome suspicion and outright hostility towards vaccines, especially in the South and other rural and conservative areas.
The United States has yet to achieve another government goal of fully vaccinating 165 million American adults by July 4. There is still a shortfall of 8.5 million.
In the past month, the number of new cases per day in the United States has increased six-fold to an average of close to 80,000, which is the highest level since mid-February. The daily death toll in the past two weeks has risen from an average of 259 to 360.
These are still well below the 3,400 deaths and 250,000 cases per day during the most severe period of the outbreak in January. However, the number of cases in some parts of the country has reached the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic. Almost all deaths and serious diseases now occur in people who have not been vaccinated.
This surge caused the U.S. states and cities to defeat the retreat, and just a few weeks later, the country seems to usher in a near-normal summer.
Health officials in San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties announced on Monday that they will resume requiring everyone-whether vaccinated or not-to wear a mask in public indoor places.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said that New York City airport and transit workers will have to be vaccinated or tested weekly. He did not force the public to wear masks or vaccinate, saying he did not have the legal authority to do so.
The mayor of Denver said the city will require police, firefighters and certain other municipal employees, as well as staff in schools, nursing homes, hospitals and prisons to be vaccinated.
Regardless of the vaccination situation, public colleges and universities in Minnesota will require masks to be worn indoors. New Jersey states that workers in state-run nursing homes, mental hospitals and other such institutions must be vaccinated or undergo regular testing.
The governor of North Carolina ordered state employees to cover indoors without being fully vaccinated.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that nationwide vaccination requirements are “out of the scope of discussion,” but pointed out that employers have the right to take such measures.
The U.S. Senate saw the first disclosed case of the breakthrough virus, and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he had mild symptoms.
In Florida, last summer, the number of people infected with COVID-19 in the hospital jumped from 2,000 to 10,000 in two months. Mary Mayhew, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said that this summer, Florida hospitals saw the same growth in just 27 days.
She also pointed out that this time, 96% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated, and they were much younger, many of whom were only in their 20s and 30s.
In the context of the surge, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis warned in a fundraising email over the weekend: “They are here again for your freedom.”
Although setting national vaccination goals may help inspire enthusiasm for vaccines, 70% of Americans vaccinated will never be enough to prevent a surge in the unvaccinated population. When he announced the goal, Biden admitted that this was just the first step.
It is the level of vaccination in the community—not the broad national average—that can slow the outbreak or allow it to flourish.
Vaccination rates in some southern states are much lower than in New England. Vermont has fully vaccinated nearly 78% of adults. Alabama just cracked 43%.
Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Michelle Liu of Columbia, South Carolina, and Gary Robertson of Raleigh, North Carolina contributed to this report.