Jun 22, 2021 - Health

CDC: Nearly every adult COVID-19 death is now "entirely preventable"

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a Senate hearing in May 2021.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a Senate hearing in May 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Adult deaths from COVID-19 are "at this point entirely preventable" thanks to vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Deaths from the virus have dramatically decreased since their peak in early 2021, but the U.S. is still currently reporting an average of more than 200 deaths every day, though the numbers could increase as the B.1.617.2 (or Delta) variant of the virus becomes the dominant strain in the country.

The big picture: NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, is currently the greatest threat to the elimination of the coronavirus in the U.S. because it's more transmissible and associated with increased disease severity than the most common variant of the virus.

  • However, all available vaccines are still effective against the Delta variant, meaning it primarily poses a risk to people who are unvaccinated.

What they're saying: "This new virus forced too many of our families to accept death as an outcome for too many of our loved ones, but now this should not be the case," Walensky said.

  • "We have the tools, so let's use them and crush the outbreak," Fauci said.

Go deeper: New coronavirus variant gains foothold in the U.S.

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