US vaccination rates up even as Delta variant spreads

Washington: Cases of COVID-19, along with hospitalizations and deaths, remain on the rise in the United States even as the pace of vaccinations has picked up, fueling ongoing concerns about the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Chemist chain Walgreens said on Wednesday that it has seen a recent jump in inoculations in parts of the country that had previously lagged behind, reported Al Jazeera.

The number of jabs rose more than 30 percent in states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas, in the past few weeks, said the company, which now has administered more than 29 million COVID-19 jabs since the pandemic began.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said an average of about 600,000 doses were being administered daily across the country as of July 29, a 16 percent increase from a week prior.

As of August 2, the seven-day rolling average of new cases of the coronavirus stood at 84,389, according to the CDC.


The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, who also serves as the White House’s chief medical adviser, said he expects cases to continue to rise sharply in the coming weeks.


The rise in infections led the CDC to recommend last week that even people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 resume wearing face masks in some public indoor settings.

The Biden administration has blamed the latest surge in cases on the approximately 90 million people who remain unvaccinated.

On Tuesday, Biden called on resistant Republican governors to “get out of the way” of vaccine rules aimed at containing the more transmissible and dangerous COVID-19 variant.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is finalizing plans to require that almost all visitors to the US from overseas be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Reuters reported Wednesday.

A White House official told Reuters Wednesday that the administration is working to get “a new system ready for when we can reopen travel.”  The Biden administration has also spoken with US airlines about instituting an international contact tracing system for passengers.

Key questions about the system remain unanswered, including what US officials will accept as proof of vaccination and whether travelers dosed with vaccines approved for use in other countries, but not the US, will be allowed in.

The US currently bars travel by non-citizens who have been in the United Kingdom, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the past 14 days.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy AP)

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