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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Tuesday that contrasting vaccination rates in various parts of the countries could lead to "two Americas."

Why it matters: As of mid-June, about 15 states had inoculated 70% or more of their adult populations with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But some states, particularly in the South, are lagging.

The big picture: The low vaccination rates across parts of the U.S. will make these communities particularly vulnerable to the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus, Fauci said.

  • "When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among under-vaccinated regions — be they states, cities or counties — you're going to see these individual types of blips," he said.
  • "It's almost like it's going to be two Americas," Fauci added.
  • "You're going to have areas where the vaccine rate is high, where there's more than 70% of the population has received at least one dose. When you compare that with areas where you may have 35% of the people vaccinated, you clearly have a high risk of seeing these spikes in those selected areas," the infectious disease expert explained.

These spikes could be "entirely avoidable" if more people get vaccinated, Fauci noted.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2021 - Health

Pfizer says data suggests COVID vaccine boosters are warranted

A nurse administering a booster shot of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 19 in Pasadena, Calif. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer told the FDA Wednesday that data from its clinical trials suggests a third shot of its coronavirus vaccine may be necessary six months after the second dose because of waning efficacy.

Why it matters: The FDA's advisory committee on Friday is expected to review Pfizer's clinical trials and other supporting and conflicting data on coronavirus booster shots and make recommendations on whether more Americans 16 years and older should receive an extra dose.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 15, 2021 - Health

1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and U.S. Census Bureau; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. has reached a grim pandemic milestone: More than 1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19, according to the latest available data.

Why it matters: The rising death toll highlights the continued effects of the Delta variant and the ongoing struggle to get Americans vaccinated.

By the numbers: The total number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States is 665,496 as of 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, according to reporting by Johns Hopkins University.

  • 30.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. involved individuals ages 85 and older as of Wednesday, despite only making up 2% of cases and an equal portion of the population.