The highly transmissible Delta variant
is rapidly spreading across the United States
, according to the Biden administration
on Tuesday, in a renewed effort to get Americans vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci
, the country's top infectious disease expert, told reporters that the Delta strain, which was discovered in India
, now accounts for about 6% of new infections in the United States.
(Earlier this month, the World Health Organization
changed the way it names coronavirus
variants, instead of the regions where they first appeared, in order to reduce the stigma associated with country-affiliated nomenclature.)
The Delta strain of COVID-19 has already established itself as the dominant strain in the United Kingdom
, accounting for roughly 60% of new cases and raising concerns about a planned reopening of society, which some experts fear could spark a third wave of the pandemic
“This cannot happen in the United States,” Fauci said during a press conference.
Two doses of the Pfizer
and AstraZeneca vaccines
were effective against the Delta variant, but Fauci claimed that only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine was 33% effective against the strain.
“If you’ve already received your first dose, make sure to receive your second dose,” Fauci advised, adding, “Those who have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated.”
The doctor went on to say that transmission in the United Kingdom was "peaking" among young people
aged 12 to 20 years old, a group that American officials hope to vaccinate in large numbers to prevent a new wave of infections.
President Joe Biden
concurred with Fauci's assessment and recommendations:
Folks, the Delta variant — a highly infectious COVID-19 strain — is rapidly spreading among young people aged 12 to 20 in the United Kingdom. If you're young and haven't gotten your shot yet, it's really time. It's the best way to protect yourself and those you care about. — President Biden (@POTUS) June 8, 2021
In recent days, U.S. officials lauded the effectiveness of the country's mass vaccination
drive, with Rochelle Walensky
, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, claiming that the country had seen a decrease in infection rates linked to the immunizations.
“Every week, there is more and more data demonstrating the impact vaccination has on preventing disease and moving
us out of this pandemic,” Walensky said Tuesday.
Biden's goal of having 70% of Americans vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4 has been jeopardized by falling vaccination rates.