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‘Pandemic of the unvaccinated’: CDC director ramps up warning to skeptical Americans

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Amid concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19 and rising cases in some areas, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky warned that COVID-19 is “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

In a further effort to isolate Americans who have chosen not to get vaccinated, Walensky shared that vaccinated people are protected against severe disease.

“There is a clear message that is coming through, this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky declared. “We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. And communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.”

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients echoed the sentiment, stating that the pandemic is “one that predominantly threatens unvaccinated people.”

The Biden administration failed recently to meet its 70% COVID-19 vaccination goal and just announced a door-to-door campaign to urge people to take the shot(s).


The CDC director said the U.S. is averaging about 26,000 cases per day, nearly a 70% increase from the previous seven-day average, and that hospitalizations are also up to about 2,790 per day, a 36% increase from the prior week. At 211 per day, virus deaths are also up 26%.

Walensky stressed that 97% of those entering the hospital because of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“The good news is if you are fully vaccinated you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization and death,” she explained. “And are even protected against the known variants, including the delta variant, circulating in this country.”

“If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk,” Walensky added.

While CDC guidelines say people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks in most settings, Walensky said local officials might want to consider mandatory mask orders again.

“If you have low vaccination and high case rates then I would say local policymakers might consider whether masking at that point would be something that’d be helpful for their community until they scale up their vaccination rates,” Walensky said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki raised eyebrows on Thursday when she said that the administration is taking on the spread of “disinformation” when it comes to vaccines — the problem being who decides what qualifies as disinformation.

Talk about the coronavirus originating in the Wuhan, China lab was once labeled disinformation but is now becoming more and more widely accepted.

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office,” Psaki announced. “We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy spoke at the briefing as well, saying COVID deaths are “markedly down from their peak in January” and that there are 160 million people who have been fully vaccinated.

“But we are not out of the woods yet,” Murthy added. “Millions of Americans are still not protected against COVID-19, and we are seeing more infections among those who are unvaccinated. And that’s why I want to talk to you today about one of the biggest obstacles that’s preventing us from ending this pandemic.”

He announced that a Surgeon General’s Advisory had been issued on the dangers of health misinformation, saying “today we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”

Tom Tillison


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