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White House COVID-19 Response Team Combats Delta Variant

July 01, 2021

The spread of the “hyper transmissible” Delta variant poses a significant public health concern in areas with low COVID-19 vaccination rates, the White House’s COVID-19 response team said today.

During a press briefing, the nation’s leading public health officials offered a look at the progress in the worldwide COVID-19 vaccination effort and the need to remain vigilant about the virus and its variants.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a seven-day average of 12,600 new COVID-19 cases. That’s down about 95 percent from the January peak, but marks a 10 percent increase from last week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director. Hospitalizations have declined about 1 percent from last week, Dr. Walensky said.

Across Pennsylvania, there have been 174 new COVID-19 cases reported on a seven-day average, which is down from the prior week of 188 new cases.

The Delta variant accounts for about 25 percent of all new COVID-19 cases, and it’s expected to be the most prevalent variant in the coming months, Dr. Walensky said.

"As the Delta variant continues to spread across the country, we expect to see increased transmission in these communities unless we can vaccinate more people now," Dr. Walensky said.

Among the key takeaways from today’s briefing:

  • Vulnerable communities:  Public health officials are worried about the spread of the Delta variant in areas with low COVID-19 vaccination rates. There are about 1,000 counties in the U.S. with COVID-19 vaccine rates below 30 percent, Dr. Walensky said
  • Protection against the virus and variants:  The approved two-dose COVID-19 vaccines provide significant protection against severe cases and hospitalizations from the Delta variant, especially two weeks after the second dose. The federal government still is collecting data about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but early signs indicate that it also provides protection against the variant, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s Chief Medical Advisor 
  • Ongoing initiative:  The U.S. has committed to sharing more than 580 million COVID-19 doses worldwide to prevent the spread of the virus. The federal government also plans to deploy “COVID-19 surge response teams” to help reduce the spread of the virus across the U.S., expanding testing, vaccination, and contact tracing to support areas with low vaccination rates

HAP continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to contact their health care provider if they have questions about any of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines or to make an appointment.  Getting your COVID-19 vaccine brings us one step closer to the end of the pandemic.

The vaccines are free, widely available, and provide outstanding protection against COVID-19. 

For more information, contact Robert Shipp III, PhD, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs.