The administration of President Joe Biden devised a strategy to control one coronavirus strain. However, another strain was discovered that is much more contagious.
Biden reached his goal of 70% U.S. adults having had at least one COVID-19 vaccination this week, a month behind schedule. The original goal was to affirm American resilience to coincide with Independence Day. However, this late milestone is not something to celebrate. The new cases are rising at an average rate of more than 70,000 per day thanks to the delta variant. This is higher than the peak in the summer last year when there were no vaccines. Experts in medical and scientific communities are scathing about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s sporadic masking recommendations.
The delta variant is not a political party. Biden’s pandemic response may be found lacking, and Republican governors who oppose pandemic mandates will also have to account. They were also counting on declining numbers. Unvaccinated patients crowd their hospitals instead.
Biden’s process-driven approach to vaccine delivery enabled the administration to deliver more than enough vaccine to safeguard the country and sufficient to ship 110 millions doses abroad. When the president first set his 70% vaccination target on May 4, the U.S. was dispensing around 965,000 first doses per day, a rate more than twice as fast as needed to reach the July 4 goal.
Things started to happen.
While the White House was aware of public surveys showing swaths of the population unwilling or unmotivated to get a shot, officials didn’t anticipate that nearly 90 million Americans would continue to spurn lifesaving vaccines that offer a pathway back to normalcy. A misinformation epidemic about vaccines created a fog of doubt that has persisted in many communities, especially in Republican-led states.
Yet on May 13, when the CDC largely lifted its mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated adults indoors, topline indicators were still flashing green. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks and have their shots taken as soon as possible, the agency stated. Biden and Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, celebrated by taking off their masks and walking in the Rose Garden of The White House. Across the country, a daily celebration spread to coffee shops and supermarkets, beer gardens, restaurants, and other establishments. People planned music festivals and weddings.
Expert warnings about the inability to distinguish between who is and who isn’t vaccinated were drowned out by the cheers. A country that was desperate for an end of the pandemic was being forced to use the honor system.
Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore commissioner of health and commentator, stated that the CDC’s abrupt and chaotic change in masking guidance back May was the single greatest mistake of the Biden presidency in COVID 19. It gave people the impression that the pandemic was over. This allowed people who were not vaccinated to behave and have full control, which is why we now have the surge in the delta variant.
Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, stated that the CDC was “naive”. They saw it as a carrot and a gift.
Meanwhile, the delta variant had arrived, and in a matter of weeks would become the dominant strain in circulation.
Recently, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, confirmed that delta is more contagious than ever. She said that if you are infected with the alpha variant of the virus, it could spread to two other people unvaccinated. “If you are infected with the delta variant of the virus, you can infect five more people unvaccinated — twice the number as the original strain.
The CDC reversed its position on masks last week and recommended that everyone be vaccinated again wear masks indoors in areas where there is a risk of contracting the virus.
Disease detectives had just reported a recent outbreak in Provincetown (Massachusetts) as the immediate cause. The virus was the delta variant and most of those infected were vaccinated. Although few people who were vaccinated became seriously ill, it was found that people who had been vaccinated with breakthrough infections were more likely to contract the virus than those who weren’t.
Some people were skeptical about vaccines after the report. Wen, the former health chief, stated that the CDC should have placed the Provincetown report within a wider context that demonstrated vaccines continue to protect. The CDC did not respond immediately to our requests for comment.
Biden declared that the nation would declare its independence from the virus on July 4. He seemed to have moved past the pandemic in recent weeks. He was focused on striking a bipartisan infrastructure deal and selling the Democrats-only legislation that would allow him to pursue his ambitious domestic agenda. The White House has fewer COVID-19 briefings.
Ali Mokdad, an infectious diseases expert at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, said that “we celebrated prematurely”. Mokdad said that Biden’s goal of 70% was a good step but only half of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Although vaccinations are trending upwards, the data doesn’t support a significant increase in their number.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis, both Republicans who are dismissive of mask requirements face surges in their respective states. Florida and Texas combined accounted for nearly one-third of all new cases nationwide in the week. DeSantis doubled down Tuesday on his defiance, blaming “media hyperstyria” as well as people spending more time indoors during the scorching summer.
He said that even among many positive tests, there is much less mortality than you saw year-over-year. Would I prefer to have 5,000 cases in 20-year-olds than 500 cases for seniors? I prefer the younger.
Offit, a Philadelphia vaccines expert, said that “it’s difficult to watch” DeSantis claim he will not abide by mask mandates. Offit asked, “Why not?” Offit replied, “That’s why his state is leading the league in cases.”