Fauci calls for deepening vaccination drive across US

Bloomberg June 9 | Updated on June 09, 2021

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases   -  Reuters

Cautions that delta variant is surging in the UK

US health officials said Tuesday that the more harmful Covid-19 variant known as delta has surged in the UK, a country with high vaccination levels, in a warning to states as inoculation fades across the US.

Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an adviser to President Joe Biden, said at a news briefing that the delta variant that was first reported in India now accounts for more than 6 per cent of cases being sequenced in the US while in the UK it has overtaken the alpha variant that originated there.

“It’s essentially taking over” in the UK, Fauci said. “We cannot let that happen in the US.” The delta variant has now been reported in 60 countries, including the US, he said.

Covid-19: Delta variant now dominant in UK as cases rise by 5,472 in a week

The delta variant appears to be more easily spread and may be associated with increased severity of disease, Fauci said. Doctors in India have linked the variant to hearing impairment and blood clots leading to gangrene.

Across the US, Covid-19 case loads are falling but so too is the pace of vaccinations. About 64 per cent of US adults have received at least one dose, but the pace of daily inoculations is down by more than two-thirds from April highs. Biden has launched a “month of action” to help spur along vaccinations.

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‘Almost pleading’ with states

Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations continues to fall, yet again urged people to get vaccinated. “There is more work to be done,” she said.

Fauci said the administration is “almost pleading” with states where vaccination levels remain below 50 per cent. “If you don’t get vaccinated, you are at risk,” he said.

He said research shows that the Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc vaccines are only 33 per cent effective against the delta variant after one shot, though are 88 per cent and 60 per cent effective, respectively, after two doses.

Published on June 09, 2021

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