Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The Delta-Covid variant has spread so quickly in the US that most counties in the country now meet CDC guidelines that recommend wearing masks indoors – whether they are vaccinated or not.
“We continue to see an increase in cases, hospitals, hospital admissions and deaths across the country. And now over 90% of the counties in the United States are experiencing significant or high transmission, ”Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters at a briefing Thursday. “As we said earlier, by far the most vulnerable people remain who have not yet been vaccinated.”
The CDC updated its mask guidelines on July 27 to recommend indoor masks in areas of the United States where community transmission was considered high or significant. Most of the counties with high transmission rates were in the southern United States, but in two weeks the proliferation of the highly transmittable delta variant expanded to most counties across the country.
The CDC recorded 132,384 new cases of Covid on Wednesday and hit a seven-day average of about 113,000 cases per day, up nearly 24% from the previous week, it said. Hospital admissions also rose about 31% in the previous week to about 9,700 per day.
Unvaccinated Americans make up the overwhelming majority of hospital admissions and deaths across the country, she said.
Several coastal cities with high vaccination rates on both sides of the United States have mandated vaccinations for indoor activities such as restaurants, bars, and gyms to prevent further spread of the Delta variant. New York City requires at least one dose of indoor activity vaccine, and San Francisco requires full vaccination with a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
In the hardest hit states, vaccination rates are increasing as residents take precautions against the spread of the Delta variant. The average number of daily shots tripled in Arkansas last month and quadrupled in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, Jeffrey Zients, White House coordinator of coronavirus response, said at the briefing.
“To end this pandemic, every American must do their part. So please, if you are not vaccinated, get your vaccination … it has never been more important, ”said Zients.