Fully vaccinated people who contract a breakthrough Covid-19 infection can transmit the virus, CDC chief says

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“Our vaccines work exceptionally well,” Walensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “They continue to work well for Delta, in terms of serious illness and death – they prevent it. But what they can no longer do is prevent transmission.”

“If you come home with someone who has not been vaccinated, someone who cannot get the vaccine, someone who might be immunocompromised or a little fragile, someone who has comorbidities that cause them to expose to high risk, I suggest you wear a mask in indoor public places, ”Walensky said.

The dangerous Delta variant has fueled the country’s latest wave of Covid-19 cases and if more Americans don’t get vaccinated and mask themselves, the country could soon see “several hundred thousand cases a day,” similar to the winter wave, Walensky mentioned.

And while southern states – including Florida and Louisiana – have seen an exponential increase in the number of cases, Walensky said, they are yet to reach their peak.

“The next variant is fast approaching”

Getting more people vaccinated will not only help crush this wave, experts say. This will help prevent other – potentially even more aggressive – variants from appearing in the future.

“The next variant is fast approaching, if we don’t all get vaccinated,” Admiral Brett Giroir, the former coronavirus testing czar under President Donald Trump, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“I’m just begging the American people to understand that in order to beat this virus we have to increase everyone’s immunity level, and that’s how it is,” he added.

About 58.2% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data, and about 49.9% are fully vaccinated.

There was encouraging news on Thursday, as White House data director Dr Cyrus Shahpar tweeted that there were the highest number of doses reported given in a single day in more than a month. . He said more than 864,000 doses had been administered from the previous day’s total, including about 585,000 people who received their first injection.

In the coming weeks, outbreaks will likely reach all of the United States, not just areas with low vaccination rates, former CDC director Dr Tom Frieden said on Wednesday. Epidemics, however, will not be as explosive in areas with higher vaccine coverage, Frieden added.

As cases increase, hospitalizations and deaths are also likely to increase, according to the overall forecast released by the CDC on Wednesday. The forecast is that a total of 624,000 to 642,000 deaths will be reported by August 28. As of Wednesday, there were 614,342 deaths from Covid-19 in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

If you’re not protected from Covid-19, the virus will likely infect you, CNN’s Pamela Brown told CNN Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday.

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“This virus is highly infectious. If you decide to try to miss playing time, don’t try to do so. This virus will find you, it will eventually infect you,” Osterholm said.

Fortunately, the available vaccines appear to offer a strong defense against the Delta variant, especially in severe illness and death, Frieden said.

“We are at war with this virus which has already killed more than 610,000 Americans. We now have the tools with vaccines and masks to stop more death, suffering and destruction,” the medical analyst at CNN, Leana Wen.

FDA May Introduce Vaccine Recall Strategy Next Month

Meanwhile, as questions grow over whether fully vaccinated Americans will need booster shots, a Biden administration official told CNN that internal discussions at the Food and Drug Administration of the United States focused on a timeline in early September to define a strategy.
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This strategy would apply to all people vaccinated. A decision for people who are immunocompromised and at increased risk of Covid-19 is expected sooner, the official said.

Earlier this week, Dr Anthony Fauci said people with weakened immune systems may need extra protection after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine – and there is an effort to make the vaccines reminder available to these people “very soon”.

“There are those people who are immunocompromised – transplant patients, patients on cancer chemotherapy, patients on immunosuppressive therapy, for example, for autoimmune diseases,” Fauci said at a virtual event hosted by the governor. by Virginie Ralph Northam on Tuesday. “These individuals we know almost invariably do not have an adequate response, so the need to give them an extra boost is much more urgent than the general population.”

FDA could develop national strategy for Covid-19 booster injections in early September

CDC vaccine advisers met to discuss whether immunocompromised people might need additional protection against a vaccine booster, but did not present a recommendation or vote on guidance.

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Wednesday that a federal government recommendation on vaccine boosters would come “if and when” the increase in infections is proven to be due to decreased immunity to the vaccine.

“I recognize that individual physicians and their patients may make a decision … regarding … whether to get an extra dose and it may be, but formally we cannot make that recommendation yet. as long as we don’t think the data is clear and indicates boosters are needed, ”Murthy said.

“We have let our children down,” says FDA vaccine advisor

Low Covid-19 vaccination rates in the United States put children – many of whom cannot get vaccinated – at risk, Dr Paul Offit, vaccine advisor with the US Food and Drug Administration, said on Wednesday. United.

“I think we’ve let our kids down,” Offit told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

There is currently no licensed vaccine for children under 12 in the United States, so young children rely on immunizations from those around them to protect them, Offit explained. And many children 12 and older have yet to receive the vaccine, he added.

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Offit noted that many children are on the verge of returning to school, at a time of year when the virus is more easily transmitted and the Delta variant is circulating.

“We need to increase vaccination rates, so these children can be protected,” Offit said.

Highlighting this point, the president of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN that his staff saw babies in the neonatal intensive care unit sick with Covid-19.

Dr Trey Dunbar told CNN that children are victims of a pandemic that has a simple solution: vaccinating adults.

“Covid is a preventable disease,” he said. “It is difficult for us as pediatricians to see children affected by preventable disease. Children are not like adults. They have no choice but to be vaccinated.

“So, yeah, it makes a big difference when adults make decisions for kids and adults make decisions that maybe could prevent the diseases we see in kids,” Dunbar said.

Concerns about America’s youngest come as schools across the country prepare to reopen – and district leaders try to find the safest way back to class. The fact that children wear masks remains a point of contention in communities across the United States – some states requiring masks in schools while others have banned mask mandates.

Metro Nashville Public Schools on Thursday sent a letter to families saying students, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks in school buildings when the school year begins next week. Masks will also be required on school buses, but not outside, the district said, adding that the rule would remain in place “until further notice.”

Only six intensive care beds available in one state

Even after the development and release of the Covid-19 vaccines that so many medical professionals had hoped for, the increase in cases has led to overwhelmed hospitals.

Arkansas health officials reported a “record number of critical care beds available” on Wednesday. Arkansas Department of Health Public Information Officer Danyelle McNeill said the state only had 25 intensive care beds.

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According to the Arkansas Covid-19 Scoreboard, there have been a total of 1,232 positive Covid-19 admissions. The total number of positive admissions for Covid-19 in intensive care is 466, and the total number of positive admissions for Covid-19 on ventilators is 260.

Mississippi only had six open intensive care beds available statewide on Wednesday morning, Dr. Jonathan Wilson, executive director and responsible for Covid-19 incidents, said in a Covid-19 briefing with executives from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“A very simple number, six. That’s the number of intensive care beds open in the state of Mississippi this morning. Six. So the situation is getting dire, not just here at the medical center, here at Metro Jackson, but the whole state. Our neighboring states are experiencing similar situations, “Wilson said.

“We are doing our best, from a state perspective, to try to allocate patients to deliver health care as we know it. But we’re not about to do it, we know. that we’re not at the crest of this wave and it’s bad, but it’s probably going to get a little worse, “Wilson added.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that Dr Walensky was referring to fully vaccinated people who contract a breakthrough infection saying that vaccines no longer prevent transmission of Covid-19.

CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Elizabeth Stuart, Kaitlan Collins, Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Jeff Simon, Nadia Romero and Raja Razek contributed to this report.


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