As states reopen and lift mask mandates, some experts are warning the Delta variant could pose a great threat to progress the country has made, especially in certain states.
“It’s not going to be as pervasive,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration told CBS. “It’s going to hyper-regionalize. There’s certain pockets of the country where you’re going to have very dense outbreaks.”
Those areas include states with low vaccination rates, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming, who each have less than 35% of their populations fully vaccinated. The CDC estimates that 46.1% of the total US population has been fully vaccinated, far less than the 70 to 85% experts said would be needed to stem off the virus. For Black Americans, the virus has disproportionately impacted our communities, making the push for vaccines a national task. Barbershops, churches, and trusted community leaders have been enlisted to provide vaccine education, and greater access to vaccine doses.
Gottlieb told the outlet increasing vaccination rates is needed to avoid a potential outbreak.
“People who are going to be convinced to get vaccinated by [Anthony] Fauci, or the surgeon general –– or me for that matter –– probably are already vaccinated,” Gottlieb said. “We need to get vaccines into the hands of doctors, make it easier for doctors to supply vaccines in their offices,” he explained, adding that he thinks more eligible Americans would get the vaccines as they return to in-person work spaces.
Several states, including Arkansas, have seen a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, drawing calls to ramp up vaccination rates. To see how your county and state is doing, check out The New York Times vaccination tracker by clicking here.