Infectious Disease Expert Warns Of Potentially 'Substantial' COVID-19 Surge

A health care worker prepares a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during a Kedren Health mobile vaccine clinic at the Watts Juneteenth Street Fair on June 19, 2021 in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. - The US on June 17 designated Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the country, a federal holiday with President Joe Biden urging Americans "to learn from our history."Photo: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Days ago, the Biden administration announced that 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered across the country. President Joe Biden called the moment "a truly American accomplishment."

"Just remember what the situation was like 150 days ago," Biden said.

"We didn't have enough vaccine supply for all Americans. We didn't have the vaccine infrastructure or the people to administer the vaccines or the places where the people could get vaccinated. But we turned it around together by working quickly, aggressively and equitably."

Adding to the Biden administration's celebration, a number of states like New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and New York are seeing dips in new COVID-19 cases. As a result, restaurants, movie theaters and even concert venues are beginning to reopen nationwide. While the nation is heading in a positive direction, infectious disease experts are warning Americans that the pandemic is not over just yet.

"We have to know that we’re not done with the virus yet," Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota said.

"We have over a hundred counties in this country that have had less than 20% of their population vaccinated. We have states where we’re well below 40% with even a single dose of vaccine in people."

Public officials and medical experts are particularly worried about the delta variant of the coronavirus. Making matters worse, the President warns that this variant could be particularly dangerous to young children and adults who are unvaccinated. For Black Americans, this is a worrisome development. As of June 7, federal data indicates that less than 25% of Black Americans had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, many children are not eligible to receive the vaccine, but reports released in September 2020 and February 2021 show that an overwhelming percentage of youth COVID-19 fatalities are children of color.

"We have a lot of susceptible people out there yet that have been not vaccinated, that, for example, should this Delta variant take over, we’re going to see local and regional surges that are substantial,” Osterholm continued.

“We’re surely farther along in this country than other places but we still need to get people vaccinated. And as you know, things have slowed down dramatically in terms of new people getting vaccinated.”

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