Currently about 25 percent of new infections in the United States have been linked to the Delta variant, up from 6 percent in early June. The CDC director warned the Delta variant is expected to eclipse the Alpha variant in the coming weeks.
WASHINGTON, July 2 (Xinhua) — Experts and officials have expressed grave warning about increasing COVID-19 infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, as lots of Americans will be on the move during the Fourth of July holiday.
Health experts said the Delta variant, originally found in India, is much more contagious than other coronavirus variants.
Currently about 25 percent of new infections have been linked to the Delta variant, up from 6 percent in early June, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Looking across the country we have made incredible progress. However, looking state by state and county by county it is clear communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that are vulnerable,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Thursday.
“I expect that in the coming weeks the Delta variant will eclipse the Alpha variant,” she warned.
In the state of Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, cases are surging, according to local health department.
In Los Angeles County, where the vaccination rate is above the national average, officials warned about a possible new wave of infections, especially given the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
The county reported 506 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the highest daily number of new cases since mid-April and more than double the average daily number reported in mid-June.
“Our recommendation for everyone to wear masks indoors in those settings where vaccination status cannot be verified will help press pause on viral transmission while we learn more,” said Barbara Ferrer, public health director of Los Angeles County.
“We have enough risk and enough unvaccinated people for Delta to pose a threat to our recovery, and masking up now could help prevent a resurgence in transmission,” she said.
U.S. President Joe Biden set a goal in May of having 70 percent of American adults to receive at least one COVID-19 shot by the Fourth of July. But the White House confirmed last week the country would fall short of that goal.
About 47.1 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 54.7 percent of the population has received at least one shot as of Friday, CDC data show.