(Trends Wide) — With more than 75 million eligible Americans still unvaccinated, hospitals in many states overwhelmed, and fears that cases could spike even further in the fall, experts and officials are fighting to curb the covid-19 pandemic in the United States. .
“The only thing we know for sure … 160,000 cases a day is not where we want to be,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Trends Wide’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday. “Unfortunately, that’s where we are now.”
Speaking with Axios, Fauci said that suppressing the virus is the “end” of the pandemic. Ideally, the United States would get cases as low as possible, but a reasonable goal would be to get to less than 10,000 a day, he said.
In mid-June, before the surge in cases driven by the more transmissible delta variant, the United States reached a seven-day average of about 11,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden outlined a plan that imposes stringent new vaccine rules on federal workers, large employers and healthcare personnel – requirements that could apply to up to 100 million Americans.
“We have been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and their refusal has cost us all,” Biden said, with a hardened tone toward Americans who still refuse to receive a vaccine despite ample evidence of its safety and the full approval of one – that of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 – by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said Biden’s announcement was an important step and “pointed out what the problem is right now in this country.”
And some experts pushed for more.
“I loved the speech; I wish it had gone further. I wanted the president to restrict travel this holiday season to people who have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Trends Wide medical analyst.
However, many Republican governors, some in states with high hospitalizations and low vaccination rates, condemned the strategy. Some even said they would challenge the action in court.
“To be clear: the vaccine is the best tool we have to fight the pandemic, but heavy-handed mandates are the wrong approach,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said in a tweet on Thursday.
But even with vaccination and mitigation measures in place, the end goal might not be complete eradication, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University.
“Basically, the day that we have reached a sufficient level of immunity in the population is going to end, that the virus essentially becomes a nuisance and no longer a threat,” Jha said Thursday.
How the United States is Addressing the Virus
The changes in the response to COVID-19 begin this Friday, when the maximum fine for violating the federal requirement to wear a mask when traveling will double to a range of between US $ 500 and US $ 3,000, compared to US $ 250 – US $ 1,500 from before.
And to help covid-19 patients who are affected by the rise of the delta variant, the United States will increase the availability of new treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, Biden said.
The US president said the treatments “have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 70% for unvaccinated people.”
Also this Thursday, the New York Police Department confirmed that any employee who does not get vaccinated or does not provide recent negative covid proof will not be able to work and will not be paid.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also previously announced that any new hire for any New York City agency will need to be fully vaccinated.
Choosing between vaccinations or weekly testing will likely increase vaccination, White House covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday: “It is not convenient for most to get tested once. per week, “he added.
Data on children’s vaccines expected in the fall
The vaccination effort is primarily aimed at American adults, but with the start of school across the country, many experts and parents are concerned about how children will be protected from the virus.
Children are at lower risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, but are no less likely than adults to become infected in the first place, Fauci said in an interview with The New York Times published Thursday.
“So we are seeing more children in the hospital now because the delta variant is more easily transmitted between everyone, adults and children,” Fauci said.
In Florida’s 15 largest school districts, at least 34,085 students and 6,347 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 during the 2021-2022 school year, according to an analysis by Trends Wide.
In Kentucky, 39 of the state’s 171 public school districts have had to close at some point during the 2021-2022 school year due to increased cases, quarantines and / or staff shortages, said Joshua Shoutla, a spokesman for the School Boards. The Kentucky Association told Trends Wide in a statement Thursday.
The Los Angeles Unified School District hopes to curb the spread among students by requiring that all eligible children be vaccinated at the end of the calendar year, the school board of education decided in a unanimous vote.
Children under the age of 12 are currently not eligible to be vaccinated.
But those 12 and older can get Pfizer vaccines with an emergency use authorization. According to a Trends Wide analysis of the latest CDC data, about 43% of all youth ages 12 to 17 in the United States are fully vaccinated.
Data on Moderna’s vaccine for younger age groups will likely be ready in late October or early November, following data from Pfizer expected in late September, Fauci told The New York Times.
Once the data is presented, Fauci said that it is “very likely” that the companies will request an emergency use authorization.
– Trends Wide’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Virginia Langmaid, Greg Wallace, Nikki Carvajal, Laura Ly, Jacqueline Howard, Mallory Simon, Rachel Clarke, and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.