Fauci warns of ‘two Americas’ as Delta variant cases rise in US

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on April 6, 2020, in the White House. (D. Myles Cullen/White House)

Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci on Wednesday warned about the potential emergence of “two Americas” amid the spread of the Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2. Speaking to CNN, Fauci highlighted the disparity in vaccination rates in different regions of the United States to express his concern over the spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

“When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among undervaccinated regions — be that states, cities or counties — you’re going to see these individual types of blips,” Fauci said.

“It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas,” the 80-year-old immunologist added.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ‘variant of concern’ B.1.617.2, first detected in India, accounts for more than one-fourth of the total active Covid-19 cases in the country and has reached nearly every state. The United States has administered at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to over 53% of its population and aims to achieve herd immunity through vaccination as soon as possible.

However, US authorities are now struggling to combat vaccine hesitancy when the Delta variant, known for its higher transmissibility, has started gaining more ground in the country, especially in places with low vaccination rates. States like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Louisiana have less than 35% of residents fully vaccinated. In Mississippi, unvaccinated people accounted for more than 90% of Covid-related deaths in the past month.

“I’m concerned about the Delta variant…and I am worried that what we are seeing in terms of a plateauing of cases nationally but also an increase in cases in many small sections of the United States, that is, in fact, being driven by the Delta variant,” US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy told CNN.


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