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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.

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer CEO says company will submit data for children's vaccine to FDA in "days" — The new booster dilemma — U.S. has enough COVID vaccines to meet demand for kids, boosters.
  2. Health: New York vaccine mandate for state health workers goes into effect — The antivirals are (hopefully) coming — Long COVID: A disabling disease — Montana VA medical center to treat non-veterans amid COVID surge.
  3. Politics: Federal judge upholds Cincinnati health care system's COVID vaccine mandate — Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit.
  4. Education: UT docs show faculty frustration amid Gov. Abbott's latest COVID orders — Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
14 hours ago - Health

Pfizer testing oral pill for prevention of COVID

Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer announced Monday that it is testing an oral antiviral drug that would help prevent COVID-19.

Why it matters: This drug is one of several antiviral pills that could have a massive impact on coronavirus treatment since not everyone will get a vaccine, and it may take years to fully vaccinate people in certain countries, per Axios' Alison Snyder.

15 hours ago - Health

McConnell gets his COVID booster shot

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Monday that he has received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, calling it an "easy decision."

What he's saying: "Mountains of evidence tell us these shots are safe and effective. I continue to encourage all Americans to speak with their doctors and get vaccinated," McConnell tweeted.