As the Delta variant spreads to the United States and the pace of vaccinations almost reaches a dead end, experts predict an America split in two for the fall: vaccinated and unvaccinated. The alarm is above all Anthony Fauci, the virologist who has become the face of the US fight against Covid, but not only. Even the director of the highest US authority for the prevention of Cdc diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and a former commissioner of the agency that oversees the safety of vaccines, the Food and drug administration, speak with concern of the areas where the ” no vax ”or the uncertain prevail.
“It’s like we had two Americas – said Fauci – there are entire regions, be it states, cities or counties, with low vaccination rates that are more exposed to new strains of the virus with a high level of contagiousness”.
If in some parts of the Northeast of the United States the threshold of population immunity has already been exceeded, in fact, in the South and in the rural part of the Midwest the vaccination rate remains low. So much so that although the United States is approaching 50% of the immunized population nationwide, Joe Biden’s target of 70% inoculated by 4 July, Independence Day, will not be met. Precisely because of the great geographical variations. Immunologists now indicate 75-85% of the population as a vaccination threshold to keep the virus under control.
Five states are of particular concern: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming, where less than 35% of the population has completed the coronavirus cycle. In Mississippi, where only 29.7% of the population is fully vaccinated, more than 90% of Covid cases and deaths in the past month have involved unvaccinated people.
Across the country, the Delta variant now accounts for 26.1% of cases. “The fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are safe” compared to the Delta variant, reassured the director of the CDC Rochelle Walensky. But she too fears important patchy outbreaks, especially in autumn. A situation that, according to Fauci, is “completely avoidable and preventable”, because whoever is vaccinated drastically reduces the risk of getting infected, and even more so of becoming seriously ill, while those who are not run a considerable risk “. He joins his recall Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the FDA, who foresees a fourth wave of infections. “It will not be so pervasive – he said -. And it will be hyper-regionalized. There are some areas of the country, especially many rural and southern communities, where there will be very intense peaks ».
To anticipate potential outbreaks, Gottlieb recommended that governors boost health resources in vulnerable communities and re-launch a basic vaccination campaign for the fall. “People who are convinced to be vaccinated thanks to Tony Fauci, the surgeon general or me are probably already vaccinated – he observed -. We must put vaccines in the hands of all doctors and pharmacists ». But Gottlieb is optimistic that some Americans will make the decision to immunize when they return to work and school in the fall. More and more employers, in fact, after offering the “carrot” of economic bonuses or holidays to employees who are injected, are moving to the cane.
Thousands of companies have already imposed a double injection requirement, under penalty of dismissal – a practice that has precedents in US history and that the courts are defending. Meanwhile, the incentives continue. Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan (where only 62 percent of the population received the first dose) launched a $ 5 million raffle and nine $ 55,000 vaccinee scholarships. In Arkansas, where only 33.9 percent of residents are immunized, Governor Asa Hutchinson has set up a fleet of mobile clinics, but is also preparing contingency plans to deal with the outbreaks.