The Delta coronavirus variant, which devastated India and forced the UK to delay lifting its remaining coronavirus restrictions, is now on the rise in the US. What that means for you will depend on whether you are fully vaccinated and where you live.
Experts say we may be about to see the emergence of “two Americas” of COVID: One with high rates of vaccination where the Delta coronavirus variant poses little threat, and the other with low levels of vaccination that will be vulnerable to renewed deadly surges. That divide is driven in large part by partisan politics, with vaccination rates highest in liberal cities and lowest in conservative strongholds across the Deep South and in rural areas across the nation.
“I call it two COVID nations,” Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told BuzzFeed News.
Wherever there are low rates of vaccination, the virus will continue to circulate and mutate, increasing the risk that new, more dangerous variants will emerge. With vaccination across most of the world lagging far behind the US, the Delta variant is likely to be followed by others. [Continue reading…]
With the United States unlikely to reach his self-imposed deadline of having 70 percent of adults partly vaccinated against the coronavirus by July 4, President Biden on Friday stepped up his drive for Americans to get their shots, warning that those who decline risk becoming infected by a highly contagious and potentially deadly variant.
In an afternoon appearance at the White House, Mr. Biden avoided mentioning the 70 percent target that he set in early May and instead trumpeted a different milestone: 300 million shots in his first 150 days in office. But even as he hailed the vaccination campaign’s success, he sounded a somber note about the worrisome Delta variant, which is spreading in states with low vaccination rates.
“The best way to protect yourself against these variants is to get vaccinated,” the president declared.
His remarks came as his administration begins a final push to reach the July 4 goal over the next two weeks. Vice President Kamala Harris and Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, were both on the road on Friday, trying to drum up enthusiasm for the vaccine. Ms. Harris went to Atlanta, where she noted that less than half of people in Fulton County, where the city is, had at least one shot, and Mr. Becerra to Colorado. [Continue reading…]