Jul 16, 2021 - Health

CDC director warns of "pandemic of the unvaccinated"

A sign points to a quiet vaccination site set up inside Union Station in an effort to target commuters on June 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
A sign points to a vaccination site inside Union Station on June 10 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm over what she called a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are again on the rise across the U.S.

Driving the news: During a Friday news briefing, Rochelle Walensky warned that the latest seven-day average of new cases — tallying an increase of nearly 70% from the previous seven-day average — poses a risk to individuals who are not vaccinated for the coronavirus.

  • "There is a clear message that is coming through," Walensky said. "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk."
  • Walensky noted that individuals who are fully vaccinated are protected against severe cases of COVID-19, including the contagious Delta variant.
  • Four states accounted for more than 40% of all cases in the past week, with one in five occurring in Florida alone, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said at the briefing.
    • "Unvaccinated Americans account for virtually all recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths," Zients added.

By the numbers: The current U.S.-wide seven-day average is about 26,300 cases per day, Walensky said, citing CDC data released Thursday.

  • The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 2,790 daily, an increase of about 36% from the previous seven-day period.
  • The seven-day average of daily deaths has increased by 26% to about 211 per day, according to Walensky.

Go deeper: Los Angeles County to again require masking indoors

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