“People are waking up to this,” director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins to CNN on Sunday. “That’s what needs to be done hard if we’re going to get this Delta variant back in place, because it’s a pretty big party in the middle of the country right now.”
And while vaccination rates have slowed since the initial rush for vaccination, as the pandemic worsens again, rates are rising.
More than 816,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine were administered in the US on Saturday, marking the fifth day in a row that more than 700,000 gunshots were recorded, according to the CDC. The current seven-day average of doses administered is 662,529 per day, the highest average since July 7.
dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attributed the increase to two likely factors: trusted leaders coming forward in support of vaccines and people seeing how much better-vaccinated communities are doing against the virus, he told Sunday. to CBS. .
In Florida, where nearly 1 in 5 new Covid cases are reported in the US, Dr. Neil Finkler, AdventHealth Central Florida’s Chief Clinical Officer, said none of his patients thought they would get the virus.
“The Delta variant has proven to be so contagious that even young and healthy people, including pregnant patients, are now starting to fill our hospitals,” Finkler says.
The race to get people vaccinated
“I think we’re fed up with the percentage of people in the country, not enough to crush the outbreak, but I believe enough not to put us in the situation we were in last winter,” he said.
But it will likely get worse for the unvaccinated, Fauci warned.
“We’re looking at some pain and suffering in the future as we see the number of cases increase,” he told ABC.
And while it is the unvaccinated who are likely to bear the brunt of this pain and suffering, Fauci noted that the choices made by the unvaccinated affect the overall community situation.
“If you have unvaccinated people who get infected, you’re promoting the dynamics of the outbreak, which ultimately affects everyone, from the point of view of having to wear masks, from the point of view of child safety in schools, from the point of view of it can open everything the way we were when we were normal,” he said.
To address the overall impact, many officials have stepped up vaccination efforts in undervaccinated communities.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Sunday his state is seeing a “significant increase” in vaccination rates, especially in rural areas.
“I think … fear of the Delta variant is definitely one of the causes,” DeWine told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
DeWine said the state is now targeting outreach efforts for the Medicaid population, who he says are “undervaccinated,” through incentives such as $100 cash prizes for getting the shot.
DeWine said the state’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery program also played a major role in reversing a downward trend in holiday numbers.
“We think that at least 100,000 additional people were vaccinated as a result,” DeWine said. “It was very, very successful. It was something that worked and, you know, we’re glad we did it.”
Despite the state’s advances on vaccinations, DeWine said, “We have room to grow.”
Hospitals overrun with patients
The increase in Covid-19 patients in hospitals could affect others who need medical care, doctors said.
In Austin, Texas, “Our ICU capacity is reaching a critical point where the level of risk has increased significantly for the entire community, not just those in need of treatment for COVID,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a statement.
“If we fail to come together as a community now, we are endangering the lives of loved ones who may need critical care.”
In Mississippi, hospitalizations from Covid-19 have increased significantly, including among younger patients, State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs said. According to data from the state health department, all 88 beds in the intensive care unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center were full by Friday.
And in Louisiana, “We’re falling victim to the unvaccinated,” said Dr. Christopher Thomas, an intensive care physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge.
“We’re currently overwhelming our bed capacity. We’re creating burnout for our teams. And frankly, we’re starting to impact the rest of community health care.”
At Louisiana Hospital, 97% of Covid-19 patients in the ICU were unvaccinated, Thomas said. On Friday, the average age of Covid-19 patients in the ICU was 48.
“That means there are children – with parents – who are now in the hospital,” he said.
CNN’s Holly Yan, Aya Elamroussi, Nadia Kounang, Deidre McPhillips and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.