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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

Sep 19, 2021 - World

Cuba becomes first country to begin mass vaccination of children

A child receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a school in Havana on Sept. 16. Photo: Joaquin Hernandez/Xinhua via Getty Images

Cuba this week became the first country in the world to begin the mass vaccination of children against the coronavirus, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The effort comes in response to a recent uptick in cases, which led Cuban officials to scrap plans to reopen schools earlier this month.

Updated Sep 19, 2021 - Health

Footage shows new details after NYC restaurant incident over proof of vaccination

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Three tourists were arrested after allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess when she asked for proof of their vaccination status before they could be seated indoors, the New York Times reports.

The latest: On Saturday, lawyers for the restaurant and the three women revealed that the tourists had in fact shown proof of vaccination and been allowed into Carmine's Italian restaurant, according to the Times.

Fauci: Vaccinating the unvaccinated remains the "highest priority"

NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Sunday that while the coronavirus vaccine booster rollout is important, the "highest priority" is to vaccinate the unvaccinated.

Why it matters: Fauci's statements on NBC's "Meet the Press" come days after an FDA advisory panel voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, pouring cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals.