US coronavirus: Delta variant is “Covid-19 on steroids,” says one professional, with instances rising in nearly half of the US states

The rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus has only increased the pressure. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the variant first identified in India is responsible for more than half of all new Covid-19 infections in the country -19 on steroids, “said Andy Slavitt, a former senior advisor to Joe Biden’s Covid Response Team, told CNN on Wednesday, “It’s twice as contagious. Fortunately, unlike in 2020, we actually have a tool that stops the delta variant in its tracks: it’s called a vaccine. “

For those who are fully vaccinated, the variant “poses very little risk to you, very unlikely to get sick,” he said.

Slavitt and other experts have said that the US Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of vaccines could encourage more people to get vaccinated. The vaccines currently sold in the United States are approved for emergency use only. On Tuesday, Slavitt said the Pfizer vaccine could get full approval as early as this month.

As of Wednesday, less than half of the US population will be fully vaccinated.

In a grim reminder of the scale of the pandemic, data from Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday showed that more than 4 million people have died from Covid-19 worldwide.

In total, three countries are responsible for more than a third of all deaths worldwide. The US, which has the highest death toll at 606,000, accounts for 15% of the global total, followed by Brazil and India.

Fear of further variants if people are not vaccinated

But it is not just the Delta variant that worries health experts.

“I’ll tell you right away that you want to see who gets sick, be it the Delta variant or another variant: They are people who have not been vaccinated,” said Dr. Megan Ranney told CNN on Wednesday.

“I don’t want it to come to that, but I hope this surge will get more people in those states with low vaccination rates to finally go out and get their vaccination.”

Ranney, who is an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor at Brown University, added that vaccinated people don’t have much to worry about, but she gave a disturbing glimpse into the current surge in cases.

“What worries me more are the variants yet to come, and every time this virus is passed from one person to another there is a chance it could mutate. And it is only a matter of time before we have a variant against which the vaccines are no longer available. ” protect us, ”she explained.

With the spread of the Delta variant, experts split over whether vaccinated people should be tested for Covid-19 Some experts have begun to wonder if it might be time to test vaccinated people to make sure the Delta variant doesn’t escape the effects of vaccines.

Current federal guidelines state that fully vaccinated individuals can forego routine testing. Studies and experts have also said that the vaccines still offer high levels of protection.

“I think now we should reconsider this guideline with the delta variant and see whether the current recommendations hold up,” wrote Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, in an email to CNN on Wednesday.

The CDC only reports data on “breakthrough infections” that cause serious illness. That could mean scientists and health officials don’t know how many people who have been vaccinated have mild or asymptomatic infections – and it will be very difficult to keep track of whether a new variant like Delta is causing more vaccine failures.

Local vaccination efforts continue

To get more firearms, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said the state will allocate $ 1 million in college scholarships to people between 12 and 17 who are vaccinated starting July 12.

“I can’t think of a better incentive than college education,” said Dr. Jay Perman, the Maryland University System Chancellor.

Two scholarships will be awarded each week for eight weeks through Labor Day, Hogan said, if four winners are selected. Hogan said the winners will receive a prepaid college deed for the Maryland 529 setting today’s tuition fees for the future, or an investment plan for Maryland 529 College.

One variant, many approaches to masks

The incentive is an effort by the State Department of Health and the Department of Higher Education.

More than half of Marylanders between the ages of 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated, state health data shows.

The announcement comes as the state tweeted that all Covid-19 deaths in Maryland last month occurred in unvaccinated people

Additionally, 95% of new Covid-19 cases in the state – as well as 93% of new hospital admissions – have occurred in unvaccinated people, according to Michael Ricci, the governor’s communications director.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Jacqueline Howard, Keri Enriquez, Virginia Langmaid and Hannah Sarisohn contributed to this report.

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