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COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients and NIAID director Anthony Fauci in April. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

COVID-19 surge response teams will be sent to areas of the country with low vaccination rates to assist communities amid rising concerns about the Delta variant, COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday.

Why it matters: Vaccinated Americans have so far been deemed safe from variants, including the Delta variant. But several communities are reporting upticks in new cases and hospitalizations from unvaccinated individuals.

State of play: Unvaccinated people are twice as likely to be hospitalized if infected, a study from the Lancet shows.

  • New daily cases in the U.S. have risen by 14.8% over the past 7 days, which experts say may be due to the Delta variant. Increases in cases this past week have been reported in Nevada (55%), Missouri (20%) and Arkansas (55%), among other states, the Washington Post reports.
  • New daily deaths, however, fell by 0.7% over the past week, and COVID-related hospitalizations fell by 4.7%.

Details: The teams will be sent to areas with low vaccination rates and fighting or in danger of seeing increases in cases.

The response teams will give resources and federal personnel to counties for:

  • Testing and contact tracing
  • Therapeutics to help the infected with COVID
  • Vaccination efforts for at risk communities
  • Epidemiology, data analysis, field investigations and other public health response

What they're saying: "The most important step you can to prevent these outbreaks is to get vaccinated. That’s why the COVID-19 surge response teams will focusing on increasing shots in arms with communities with low vaccination rates or fighting outbreaks," Zients said.

The big picture: The Delta variant has become the dominant strain in India and the U.K., where younger people are getting sick more frequently. It is also expected to become the dominant strain in the U.S.

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 7, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado in precarious COVID territory

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest rate since January, and the state's case counts continue to grow.

By the numbers: Colorado is one of 10 states in the U.S. that saw infections increase during the past two weeks, a New York Times analysis shows.

Updated 53 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.