The severity of the disease – not the number of people who contract the virus – is a crucial concept people need to understand at this point in the pandemic, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of United States.
âI think we all have to recognize that with 164 million people vaccinated, maybe we should expect tens of thousands of breakthrough infections,â Walensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Thursday.
“These breakthrough infections have mild illness. They stay out of the hospital. They don’t die, and I think that’s the most important thing to understand,” Walensky added.
A full vaccination is needed for optimal protection against Covid-19 – especially the highly contagious Delta variant, which accounted for more than 93% of all cases in the United States this week.
Dr William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, echoed Walensky’s point of view on how vaccination reduces the intensity of Covid-19 symptoms when breakthrough cases occur.
âIt’s largely a problem when it comes to serious illness, the illness that requires hospitalization is among the unvaccinated. It is really quite unusual to have a vaccinated person hospitalized. Most of these people tend to be older and very, very frail They have never been able to respond to the vaccine, and sometimes we have people who are immunocompromised whose immune systems also cannot respond optimally to the vaccine. Schaffner told CNN Thursday.
“So the unvaccinated continue to be the great highway of transmission. The vaccinated are small side streets. Let’s not worry about that. We need to get more people vaccinated.”
And if more people get the vaccine, the increases in cases can be controlled within weeks, Walensky said Thursday.
âHowever, our models show that if we don’t (vaccinate people) we could be up to several hundred thousand cases per day, similar to our increase in early January,â she said.
The good news is that vaccinations have resumed.
Back to school promises to be gloomy amid soaring Delta
Arizona’s second-largest school district is treating 103 active cases of the virus, according to the district’s online Covid-19 dashboard. Since the start of the school year on July 21 in the Chandler Unified School District, there have been a total of more than 140 cases.
“We will continue to monitor confirmed cases and make adjustments to our mitigation plan if necessary,” Chandler Unified School District spokesperson Terry Locke told CNN Thursday.
Only students who show symptoms are required to quarantine themselves in Chandler, and this is optional for all students with known exposure to Covid-19, regardless of their vaccination status.
Meanwhile, Indianapolis public school officials told parents of 61 fourth-graders on Tuesday that their child is to “self-quarantine for 14 days after coming into close contact with a school staff member. who tested positive for Covid-19, “district spokesman Alpha Garrett said. in a report.
Students will continue to learn remotely during their quarantine, Garrett added, and said the district requires students to wear masks regardless of their immunization status.
Hiding students in schools is exactly what Walensky urges districts to do as children under 12 remain ineligible for a vaccine.
âIn the meantime, know that the best way to protect your unvaccinated children is to surround them with vaccinated people,â Walensky said Thursday. “Our children deserve to have a full-time, in-person, and safe learning with prevention measures in place, and that includes wearing masks for everyone in schools.”
But that may not be the case in Arkansas, where two pieces of legislation were not passed Thursday by the state’s House Public Health Committee that would have allowed local school districts to require masks for children. children under 12 years old.
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson said he was “disappointed” by the vote.
Vaccine mandates resume
These are first of all the mask warrants. Now, vaccinations are required by several entities – public and private.
California public health officials decided Thursday to require nearly two million health workers in the state to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, becoming the first state to take this step.
The state’s Department of Public Health is also requiring hospitals and nursing homes to verify that visitors are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for the coronavirus.
The move comes as the state is witnessing a new outbreak of Covid-19, despite more than 53% of the state’s population being fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.
âAs we continue to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, it is important that we protect vulnerable patients in these settings,â said Dr TomÃ¡s J. AragÃ³n, Head of state health.
In Florida, where the positivity rate is among the highest in the country, the Jackson Health System has decided to require all of its employees, doctors and students to be fully immunized, CEO Carlos Migoya said Thursday.
And vaccination will have its advantages. Eligible employees who are fully immunized by September 30 will receive a one-time payment of $ 150 in recognition of their decision, Migoya said.
Those who do not receive at least one dose of the vaccine by August 23 will be required to wear an N95 mask at all times inside Jackson’s facilities, including clinical and non-clinical areas.
In Miami-Dade County, employees will be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination or be tested weekly for the virus, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Thursday. The policy will go into effect the week of August 16 for non-union employees, and exceptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, added Levine Cava.
Officials in Virginia and Hawaii on Thursday announced similar policies of proof of vaccination or weekly testing for their state employees.
Hawaii’s announcement came on the same day it set a new single-day record for new coronavirus cases, with 655 reported on Thursday.
“This alarming increase in the number of cases will not end on its own,” said Hawaii Director of Health Dr Libby Char. “The return to normalcy that we all fought so hard to achieve is in danger.”
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Michael Nedelman, Melissa Alonso, Elizabeth Stuart, Deidre McPhillips, Rebekah Riess, Cheri Mossburg, Raja Razek and Andy Rose contributed to this report.