Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said U.S. states with low vaccination levels had undergone an”upsurge” of diseases of that the Delta version of COVID-19.
The version –initially identified in India and now the dominant breed in the United Kingdom–bears an higher transmissibility rate and has spread to over 80 countries, according to the World Health Organization. Experts have discovered the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines to be effective against the Delta version, or B.1.617.2
Its spread over the U.S., so far verified in 41 states, comes as President Joe Biden’s vaccination drive seems likely to fall short of its target of 70 percent of adults at least partly inoculated by July 4.
During a Sunday appearance on CBS Face the Nation, Gottlieb, who also sits on Pfizer’s board, was asked by host John Dickerson concerning the Delta variant appearing to”be hitting in areas, not surprisingly, where people have not been vaccinated.”
“Yeah, I think that that’s correct,” Gottlieb stated. “It doesn’t automatically appear more sterile, meaning more dangerous, but it’s infecting people more easily and it’s starting to become quite prevalent in the U.K. in communities that are unvaccinated.”
Gottlieb noted a”broad variance” in vaccination rates across U.S. nations. “Some countries like Vermont or Connecticut have rather higher vaccination rates above 80 per cent,” he explained. “Other nations are trying hard to reach 50 percent”
“So Connecticut, as an instance, where I’m, shows no upsurge of disease, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri show very substantial upsurges of infections,” he continued. “And that’s based entirely on how much population-wide immunity you have predicated on hepatitis.”
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 15 upgraded its classification of the Delta version as a”variant of concern.” On Friday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky told CNN she expected it would be the predominant variant in the U.S.
Since the White House’s self-imposed July 4 deadline approaches, CDC data shows over 65% of U.S. adults received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. This represents an almost 10-percentage-point increase in dosages administered since Biden declared the target May 4, when over 56 percent of adults were partially vaccinated.
Based on government data published by The New York Times, Vermont, Hawaii and Massachusetts top state-wide vaccination rates at over 80 percent of adults getting a minumum of one dose. Mississippi is at the bottom of the record at 45 percent, followed by Louisiana and the U.S. Virgin Islands, both at 48 percent.