Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky caught reporters' attention when she said that COVID-19 is "becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated." As the number confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the country, Walensky claims that surges are primarily happening in areas with low vaccination rates.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said during a White House press briefing on Friday.
"We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage, because unvaccinated people are at risk."
When reporters pushed back against Walensky's assertion, White Press Secretary Jen Psaki added that virtually all COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the U.S. involve an unvaccinated person.
"We know that 99.5% of people who are in the hospital are people who are unvaccinated and people who are dying of COVID are unvaccinated. As Dr. Walensky said earlier today, this is really becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Psaki added.
Recent surges of COVID-19 cases have impacted every sector of American life recently. In the world of sports, two Olympians, Bradley Beal and Jerami Grant, tested positive for COVID-19 this week. In the world of entertainment, the cast and crew of Mission Impossible VII were forced to pause production due to a suspect COVID-19 outbreak. Overall, the nation is averaging approximately 26,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases per day. In context, the number of new COVID-19 cases have risen by 70% within the last week. As a result, areas like Los Angeles County are reimplementing mask mandates in certain venues. Elsewhere, National Nurses United wrote a letter to Wolensky asking that she reinstitute a national mask mandate.
"The pandemic is not over, and the United States once again stands on the precipice of rising cases," the letter reads.
"Nurses and health care workers stand ready to care for the sickest patients and to be a crucial part of the pandemic response. But our members need safe workplaces in order to ensure the safety of their patients and communities."