“The next variant is fast approaching, if we don’t all get vaccinated,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, the former coronavirus testing czar under Pres. Trump, CNN’s Chris Cuomo said.
“I’m just begging the American people to understand that in order to beat this virus, we have to increase everyone’s immunity level, and that’s how it is,” he added.
In the coming weeks, outbreaks will likely reach all of the United States, not just areas with low vaccination rates, former CDC director Dr Tom Frieden said on Wednesday. Outbreaks, however, will not be as explosive in areas with higher vaccine coverage, Frieden added.
If you’re not protected from Covid-19, the virus will likely infect you, CNN’s Pamela Brown told CNN Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday.
“This virus is highly infectious. If you decide to try to miss playing time, don’t try to do so. This virus will find you, it will eventually infect you,” Osterholm said.
Fortunately, the available vaccines appear to offer a strong defense against the Delta variant, especially in severe illness and death, Frieden said.
“We are at war with this virus which has already killed more than 610,000 Americans. We now have the tools with vaccines and masks to stop more death, suffering and destruction,” the medical analyst at CNN, Leana Wen.
“We have let our children down,” says FDA vaccine advisor
Low Covid-19 vaccination rates in the United States put children – many of whom cannot get vaccinated – at risk, said Dr Paul Offit, vaccine adviser to the US Food and Drug Administration, on Wednesday. United.
“I think we’ve let our kids down,” Offit told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
There is currently no licensed vaccine for children under 12 in the United States, so young children rely on immunizations from those around them to protect them, Offit explained. And many children 12 and older have yet to receive the vaccine, he added.
Offit noted that many children are on the verge of returning to school, at a time of year when the virus is more easily transmitted and the Delta variant is circulating.
“We need to increase immunization rates, so these children can be protected,” Offit said.
Highlighting this point, the president of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN that his staff saw babies in the neonatal intensive care unit sick with Covid-19.
Dr Trey Dunbar told CNN that children are victims of a pandemic that has a simple solution: vaccinating adults.
“Covid is a preventable disease,” he said. “It is difficult for us as pediatricians to see children affected by preventable disease. Children are not like adults. They have no choice but to be vaccinated.
“So yeah, it makes a big difference when adults make decisions for kids and adults make decisions that maybe could prevent the diseases we see in kids,” Dunbar said.
Only six intensive care beds available in one state
Even after the development and release of the Covid-19 vaccines that so many medical professionals had hoped for, the increase in cases has led to overwhelmed hospitals.
Arkansas health officials reported a “record number of critical care beds available” on Wednesday. Arkansas Department of Health Public Information Officer Danyelle McNeill said the state only had 25 intensive care beds.
According to the Arkansas Covid-19 Scoreboard, there have been a total of 1,232 positive Covid-19 admissions. The total number of positive Covid-19 admissions in intensive care is 466, and the total number of positive Covid-19 admissions on ventilators is 260.
Mississippi only had six open intensive care beds available statewide on Wednesday morning, Dr. Jonathan Wilson, executive director and responsible for Covid-19 incidents, said during a Covid-19 briefing from leaders of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“A very simple number, six. That’s the number of intensive care beds open in the state of Mississippi this morning. Six. So the situation is getting dire, not just here at the medical center, here at Metro Jackson, but the whole state. Our neighboring states are experiencing similar situations, “Wilson said.
“We are doing our best, from a state perspective, to try to allocate patients to deliver health care as we know it. But we’re not about to do it, we know. that we’re not at the crest of this wave and it’s bad, but it’s probably going to get a little worse, “Wilson added.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Naomi Thomas, Jeff Simon, Nadia Romero and Raja Razek contributed to this report.