The nation’s top infectious disease expert says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering revising its mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans as the Indian ‘Delta’ variant tightens its grip on the U.S.
In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, Dr Anthony Fauci said the discussions are ‘under active consideration’ but that local leaders need to decided for themselves whether mask mandates are needed.
‘As of this moment, the CDC still says and recommends that if you are vaccinated fully that you do not need to wear a mask indoors,’ Fauci told host Jake Tapper.
‘However, if you look at what’s going on locally…the local officials have the discretion, and the CDC agrees with that ability and discretion capability to say: ‘You know, you’re in a situation where we’re having a lot of dynamics of infection so, even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask.’
‘That’s a local decision that’s not incompatible with the CDC’s overall recommendations.’
It comes as the U.S. recorded 15,711 new cases on Sunday with a seven-day rolling average of 52,116, which is a 291 percent increase from the 13,305 average recorded three weeks ago.
Every single state and the District of Columbia is reporting either infections rising or holding steady in the last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
Additionally, 56 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Sunday with a seven-day rolling average of 281.
Fatalities, which are a lagging indicator, have not dramatically risen but instead have slightly increased by 17 percent from the average of 239 recorded three weeks prior.
Health officials say this is because people now are protected by vaccines, though in states that have less vaccine uptake – such as Florida, Missouri and Texas – hospitals are starting to fill up as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads.
‘We’re going in the wrong direction,’ Fauci lamented on CNN, describing himself as ‘very frustrated.’
‘This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated.’
Dr Anthony Fauci said on CNN on Sunday (above) that discussions at the CDC about revising its mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans are ‘under active consideration’
The U.S. recorded 15,711 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday with a seven-day rolling average of 52,116, which is a 291% increase from the 13,305 average recorded three weeks ago
Deaths have continued to remain relatively flat with 56 recorded on Sunday and a seven-day rolling average of 281, 17% up from the average of 239 recorded three weeks prior
Every single state and the District of Columbia is reporting either coronavirus infections rising or holding steady in the last week
Florida continues to leads the nation in COVID-19 cases with an average of 18,292 cases per day, data from Johns Hopkins University show.
That is a 439 percent from 3,392 average cases reported two weeks ago.
Hospitalizations are also rising steeply, reaching 6,667 on Saturday, according to a dashboard created by Dr Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida.
Two week prior on July 10, there were 2,966 patients, which represents a 124 percent increase.
Salemi told The Wall Street Journal that 53 percent of all patients are under age 60 compared to 30 percent at the start of 2021.
Across the two hospitals at the University of Florida Health, a record-high 146 patients are hospitalized compared to the peak of 125 recorded in January.
At Jackson Health System in Miami, 143 patients are hospitalized with the number doubling in just two weeks.
As of Monday, 56.7 percent of Floridians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 48.5 are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
‘All of those things together are a recipe for the data that we’re seeing,’ Salemi told The Journal.
‘It’s a cause for concern…the speed with which the indicators are going up.’
Missouri continues to be another COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 68 percent from 2,709 per day to 1,607 per day in the last two weeks, according to DailyMail.com’s analysis.
The state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with 47.1 percent of residents having received at least one dose and 40.8 percent fully vaccinated.
Average COVID-19 cases in Florida have risen 439% to 18,292 cases per day (left) and hospitalizations have increased 124% from 2,966 patients to 6,667 (right)
Cases in Missouri have risen by 68% from 2,709 per day to 1,607 per day in the last two weeks (left) and hospitalizations have also increased to 1,682 from 1,213 just 14 days prior (right)
TEXAS: In Texas, average cases have risen by 83% from 2,678 per day two weeks ago to 4,909 per day (left) and hospitalizations reached 4,320, which is the highest figure seen since March (right)
Comparatively, 56.8 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 49.1 percent are fully vaccinated.
Additionally, hospitalizations have risen across the state to 1,682 from 1,213 just 14 days prior.
The surge is due to the Delta variant, which has taken hold in the southwestern part of the state, such as Branson and Springfield, where rates of at least one vaccine dose in some counties are as low as 15 percent.
Mercy Hospital in Springfield is reporting 115 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, surpassing the peak of 113 seen in December 2020, according to the Boston Globe.
As of last week, every patient in the ICU is unvaccinated.
Even in metro areas like St Louis, COVID-19 cases are on the rise, hitting an average of 170 per day, increasing 34 percent in just one week, a news release stated.
Starting on Monday, masks are mandatory in the city and county of St Louis in indoor places for everyone age five or older regardless of vaccination status.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022, said he plans to file a lawsuit on Monday to block the mandate from being enforced.
In response, St Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones tweeted ‘Our top priority is protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the people of St Louis City and County.
‘Nobody is surprised that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit to serve his own political ambitions.’
In nearby Texas, the average number of cases have increased to 4,909 an 83 percent jump from the 2,678 cases reported two weeks ago, the DailyMail.com analysis found.
Hospitalizations are also skyrocketing with the state’s department of health reporting 4,320 COVID-19 patients on Saturday – the highest figure seen since March.
Texas’s health commissioner Dr John Hellerstedt, said hospitalizations have increased 150 percent between June 27 and July 20.
Health officials blame the dramatic rise on the spread of the Delta variant and low vaccination numbers with just 43.4 percent of the state fully vaccinated and 50.7 percent with one dose.
‘I can’t really describe how disheartening it is, especially for our frontline workers, to have to prepare themselves for a new wave of COVID patients on ventilators and oxygen again, unable to see their families,’ Dr Joseph Chang, chief medical officer of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, told Texas Monthly.
‘On my walk, when I look into their eyes, I can see that the feeling is ‘How can this be happening all over again?’
Chang said Parkland is twenty patients away from reopening a second COVID-19 unit after it was closed earlier this year.
Houston Methodist is currently treating 184 COVID-19 patients, a 70 percent increase in just one week.
‘The frustrating part for us is that so many people here are not getting the vaccine,’ Dr Faisal Masud, the medical director of critical care at Houston Methodist, told Texas Monthly.
‘We want people to give a damn about themselves and their loved ones. We want people to grow up and think like adults.’