New data shows that 26 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, and those with the highest vaccination rates have the lowest levels of COVID-19 infections.
Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts have fully vaccinated at least two-thirds of their population, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These three states are also among those with the fewest new COVID-19 cases per capita in the past week, according to CDC data.
But elsewhere, hospitals are filling up with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
“We actually recorded the lowest rate of ICUs (Intensive Care Units) available that we have had since the beginning of this crisis, partly due to those not vaccinated against covid-19 and then due to other types of trauma that increase seasonally in this time of year,” said Jared Polis, Colorado governor for the Democratic Party on Friday.
“Some hospitals are getting very close to their capacity limits. And that wouldn’t be happening if people were vaccinated.”
In Florida, Covid-19 patients occupy 27 of the 28 ICU beds at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg, said hospital president Scott Smith.
He said that about 85% of the hospital’s covid-19 patients are not vaccinated.
Some of those hospitalized ask for the COVID-19 vaccine too late, said pulmonologist Dr. Hudman Hoo, medical director of the St. Anthony’s ICU ward.
“We’ve had patients come in and ask, ‘Can I get vaccinated now?’ But they don’t understand that it’s something that should be preventive,” Hoo said.
More than 43% of Florida ICU beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to data Saturday from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Nationwide, about 31% of beds of the ICU were occupied by covid-19 patients.
New study shows efficacy of vaccines against hospitalization
Despite the prevalence of the more contagious Delta variant, vaccines remain highly effective against COVID-19 hospitalization, according to a new CDC study.
Across all ages, the Moderna vaccine was 95% effective against hospitalization, while the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was 80% effective and Johnson & Johnson’s 60% effective, according to the study.
But among those older than 75, the study found the vaccine’s effectiveness against hospitalization was 76%, compared with 89% for adults younger than 75.
“Fully vaccinated” still means that at least two weeks have passed since the second dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or at least two weeks since the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.
But because federal health authorities consider a booster dose for most Americans, the definition of fully vaccinated may change, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday.
“I anticipate that over time that may be updated, but we will let our advisers give us some recommendations,” Walensky said.
Vaccination Mandates Will Help Economy, White House Says
The new vaccination requirements recently announced by President Joe Biden have been met with praise and criticism.
Companies that want their employees to go back to work and stay there will benefit from vaccination requirements, according to Vivek Murthy, America’s chief health officer.
“A lot of companies are really relieved to get going,” Murthy told Citizen Free Press on Sunday. “We have heard many comments from the Business Roundtable and others that this will help us create safer workplaces.”
High vaccination rates would benefit employees, not just employers, Murthy said.
“If we ultimately want people to not just get back to work, but stay on the job, if we want workers to know, ‘Hey, I’m going back to work and it’s going to be safe,’ these vaccines will help people to do it,” he said.
“And I think that not only will improve public health, but it will give people a little more peace of mind.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that “many, many” more vaccination mandates may be needed to end the pandemic. School and business mandates would make a difference, he said.
“I think that’s going to turn this around, because I don’t think people are going to want to not go to work or not go to college or not go to college. They are going to do it,” Fauci told Jen Christensen of Citizen Free Press, in an interview at the convention of the NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
“You would like them to do it completely voluntarily, but if that doesn’t work, you have to turn to the alternatives.” The combination of the highly contagious Delta variant and vaccine reluctance has placed the United States in a “very difficult period” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci said.
“We have a really unfortunate situation where we have a pretty tough group of people that we are trying to persuade, or force, if they are not persuaded, to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “We have the tools to end this, and yet we are not doing it.”
Covid-19 tests help avoid school quarantines, expert says
As schools battle COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines, a former federal health official said effective coronavirus testing can reduce outbreaks.
Former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that placing students in “bubbles” in schools and routine asymptomatic testing can help reduce transmission in schools.
“Rather than quarantine the entire class, they are serially tested to make sure that no exposure has occurred leading to a subsequent case, and so the tests can be used to avoid quarantines.” Gottlieb said during an Axios event on Friday.
He said that while COVID-19 case rates may be declining in some older age groups, “it continues to rise in school-age children.”
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