Coronavirus US: Cases surge nationwide as vaccination rates plummet from spring highs
Every state in the US reported more Covid-19 cases in the week ending Friday than the week prior, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with the gravity of the situation evident from coast to coast.
Louisiana now has the highest growth rate in cases per capita in the US, state officials noted Friday. Louisiana reported its third-highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic Wednesday.
“We know that more than 80% of these are the Delta variant, that is what’s causing this surge,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “And what’s enabling the surge is a very low percentage of people who have been vaccinated.”
In the rare case that a person who is vaccinated gets the virus, it is likely that the infection will be mild or asymptomatic, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy reiterated on Friday.
“You should feel confident if you are vaccinated, your chances of getting severe illness or dying from Covid are very, very low,” Murthy told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “If you do get a breakthrough infection — which itself will be unusual — it will be more likely to be mild or asymptomatic.”
Murthy said he is concerned the Delta variant is spreading quickly among unvaccinated people, who account for the vast majority of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths.
“The thing that’s making this possible is the fact that we are dealing with the most transmissible version of Covid-19 that we’ve seen to date,” he said.
Immunocompromised Americans remain at risk
Those who are immunocompromised and vaccinated against Covid-19 may want to continue wearing masks, according to Murthy, and vaccinated people living in high transmission areas and those with young children may want to mask up as well.
“Those are all circumstances where people may make the decision to actually go the extra mile, be cautious and wear masks, especially in indoor settings,” Murthy told CNN.
Immunocompromised people may be at greater risk for Covid-19 themselves, Murthy noted, while others may want to mask up to protect the people around them.
“In the case of parents who have kids at home, they may decide that, ‘Even if there’s a really small chance I could pass it on to my kids, I want to be cautious because I’m living in an area with a lot of virus circulating,'” he said.
Meanwhile, research is being conducted to determine whether an additional boost with vaccines can be provided for the immunocompromised.
The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration are “exploring multiple options” for how to make a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine possible for immunocompromised people if needed, according to a statement on Friday.
The prospect of needing another dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccines after full immunization is under review. The vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use and providing a third dose has not been authorized.
On Thursday, the CDC presented data to its panel of vaccine advisers indicating that immunocompromised people comprise about 2.7% of adults in the US.
When immunocompromised people are infected with coronavirus, the data showed they are more likely to get severely ill. If they are vaccinated, the data showed they are more likely to have breakthrough infections. A study in the US found 44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases were immunocompromised people, while a study in Israel found a rate of 40%.
“Emerging data show there is an enhanced antibody response after an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in some immunocompromised people,” the CDC said in a statement to CNN on Friday. “While early data show some potential benefit to administering an additional dose, more evidence is needed to determine safety and effectiveness in immunocompromised people.”
Caution urged at festival as cases rise in Florida
Even for the community at-large who are not immunocompromised, the Delta variant is still putting people at considerable risk for infection, as evident in the state of Florida.
And the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered dropped in the past 10 weeks, from more than 769,000 doses administered the week of May 14 to around 245,000 this week.
Miami-Dade has the highest number of new cases among all Florida counties this week, according to DOH data, and officials are calling for caution during summer gatherings.
The mayor said anyone who isn’t vaccinated can do so at the county’s pop-up vaccine site set up at the music festival.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, John Bonifield, Elizabeth Cohen, Melissa Alonso, Chuck Johnston, Alexandra Meeks and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.