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Biden warned that people with the Delta variant were more likely to die from the virus in areas with less vaccination. Biden said he did not expect the variant to force another lockdown, but said that some places will be “seriously injured” by it.
So far, vaccinations against the variant that is spreading abroad and becoming more and more common at home have proven effective. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the Delta variant accounted for nearly 10 percent of US cases that month, compared with 2.7 percent of all cases in May.
Walensky told Good Morning America on Friday that the likely more damaging Delta variety is “likely” to become the dominant strain in the US in the coming months. Data has shown that the variant that first appeared in India is 40 to 80 percent more communicable and about twice as likely to be hospitalized as the alpha variant.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed the end of the lockdown in England amid the spread of the Delta variant.
Biden’s comments on the vulnerabilities of unvaccinated communities reflected similar concerns his chief of staff Ron Klain had raised earlier in the day. In a tweet on Friday morning, Klain warned that “cases will rise again” in areas with low vaccination rates.
According to Friday’s CDC data, 65.1 percent of American adults had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. But some states are lagging behind, especially in the south. The data showed a partisan vaccination gap, with Republican counties being far less likely to hit 60 percent of vaccinated residents.
Biden’s vaccine push has also struggled to attract black Americans, despite a fact sheet the Biden government noted that 54 percent of vaccinations were among black people in the past month.
With vaccination rates rising, Covid cases have fallen across the country, falling from a seven-day national average of 67,673 cases daily on April 18 to 11,717 on Wednesday, according to CDC data. The average of the seven-day cases peaked at over 250,000 in January, when thousands of Americans died from the virus every day.
Biden had set a goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of US adults with at least one dose by July 4, although the US is unlikely to meet that goal. Earlier this month, Biden started a “month of action” to help achieve that goal, but vaccinations have generally slowed down after the early high demand for vaccinations. Governments and corporations have offered a variety of vaccination incentives, from free beer to baseball tickets to lotteries.
On Independence Day, Biden will proclaim “a summer of freedom” from the virus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans. Biden plans to host more than 1,000 guests for a barbecue on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4th, including members of the military, first responders and key workers.