US surgeon general says putting a mask back on will help, but vaccinations will stonewall the pandemic

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By Madeline Holcombe and Steve Almasy, CNN

While radical putting their masks backmost connected indoors volition assistance trim the dispersed of Covid-19 crossed the country, getting much Americans vaccinated is inactive cardinal to ending the pandemic, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Tuesday.

“The bottommost enactment is the masks volition assistance america trim dispersed further, but the vaccinations stay the bedrock of ending this pandemic,” Murthy told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its disguise guidance Tuesday to urge afloat vaccinated radical deterioration masks indoors successful areas with “substantial” oregon “high” transmission of Covid-19 — much than fractional of each US counties.

“What’s truly important, also, is to accidental what has not changed,” Murthy said. “And what has not changed is that vaccines inactive work. They inactive prevention lives. They inactive forestall hospitalizations astatine a remarkably precocious rate.”

Much of the state remains unvaccinated, contempt inducement programs and urging from wellness experts. Only 49.2% of the US colonisation is afloat vaccinated, according to the CDC. More than 34.6 cardinal radical successful the United States person tested affirmative for the coronavirus.

Murthy said helium doesn’t privation Americans to deliberation the caller disguise guidelines mean that advancement against Covid-19 is lost.

“That is not the case,” helium said, adding that vaccines person prevented galore hospitalizations and deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime manager of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the concern could person been different.

“If we had the overwhelming proportionality of the radical vaccinated, we would not beryllium having this conversation,” helium told PBS.

Fauci addressed the changing guidance from the CDC, which successful mid-May said astir afloat vaccinated radical don’t person to deterioration masks indoors oregon outdoors.

“We are dealing with an evasive benignant of a virus. It evolves,” Fauci said. “People request to understand. It’s a achy realization, but it’s true. We’re dealing with a microorganism that’s a wily character.”

The CDC’s May guidance was based connected the Alpha coronavirus variant being dominant, helium and Murthy said. It nary longer is, truthful the CDC isn’t flip-flopping, Fauci said; it’s keeping up with the changing science.

The CDC updated the “When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated” conception of its website connected Tuesday.

Change to masking guidance based connected caller data

The guidance alteration besides included the proposal that everyone successful and astir K-12 schools deterioration masks, adjacent if they are afloat vaccinated.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday connected a telebriefing that the agency, done investigations of clusters of Covid-19 outbreaks, determined the Delta variant is much apt to infect adjacent afloat vaccinated people.

“What we’ve learned successful that discourse is that erstwhile we analyse the rarer breakthrough infections, and we look astatine the magnitude of microorganism successful those people, it is beauteous akin to the magnitude of microorganism successful unvaccinated people,” Walensky said.

She said the “vast majority” of transmission is done unvaccinated people.

Nearly two-thirds of US counties person precocious oregon important transmission of Covid-19, according to CDC data; 46% of counties person precocious transmission and 17% person important transmission.

The CDC defines precocious transmission arsenic astatine slightest 100 caller cases per 100,000 radical oregon a trial positivity complaint of astatine slightest 10% successful the past 7 days. The threshold for important transmission is 50 caller cases per 100,000 radical oregon a trial positivity complaint of 8%.

Schools are filled with unvaccinated radical who tin dispersed Covid-19 to different settings, erstwhile US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said.

“Schools are a ample reservoir of unvaccinated radical — of superspreaders, if you volition — who tin instrumentality the Delta variant location and to different places,” Adams told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Adams said the hazard of superior unwellness oregon decease is debased for children but the constituent is they besides dispersed the microorganism to different people.

Florida is 1 authorities improbable to necessitate masks successful schools. Gov. Ron DeSantis, responding done a spokesperson to the CDC recommendations, said parents cognize what’s champion for their children.

“Fortunately, the information bespeak that Covid is not a superior hazard to steadfast children, which is wherefore schools successful astir countries were among the archetypal institutions to reopen,” said spokesperson Christina Pushaw. “At the extremity of the day, the politician trusts parents to measurement the risks and benefits and marque the champion choices for their kids.”

DeSantis’ connection is successful opposition to CDC grounds that shows Covid-19 tin beryllium a superior hazard to children. CDC information bespeak much children person died from Covid-19 — 517 truthful acold — than are killed by the flu annually, adjacent successful a atrocious influenza year.

There were reports of much than 38,600 caller cases successful children for the play betwixt July 15 and 22, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children person accounted for 1.3% to 3.6% of the hospitalizations, depending connected the state, according to the organization, which represents pediatricians.

US could again spot 200K Covid-19 cases daily, erstwhile CDC manager says

The US could spot astir 4 times the existent complaint of Covid-19 cases successful the adjacent 4 to six weeks arsenic the Delta variant spreads and the colonisation hits a partition connected vaccinations, a erstwhile manager of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.

“We’re heading into a unsmooth time. It’s likely, if our trajectory is akin to that successful the United Kingdom, that we could spot arsenic galore arsenic 200,000 cases a day,” Dr. Tom Frieden said Monday, adding the US apt won’t spot the “horrific decease tolls” of earlier successful the pandemic acknowledgment to the fig of susceptible radical who are vaccinated. Frieden was CDC manager during the Obama administration.

But, helium said, “You volition spot a dependable summation successful deaths, and these are preventable deaths.”

Cases person jumped arsenic the Delta variant has spread.

The US averaged much than 57,300 caller regular cases implicit the past week — an mean that’s mostly risen since the state deed a 2021 debased of 11,351 regular connected June 22, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

As of Tuesday, cases person risen by 50% oregon much successful 35 states implicit the past 7 days compared to the week before.

The past clip much than 200,000 US cases were reported successful a time was successful January, according to Johns Hopkins.

The Delta variant is believed to beryllium much transmissible than different strains — truthful overmuch so, Frieden said, that it is fundamentally uncovering radical who are unvaccinated.

Vaccination rates person deed a wall, and that could person superior consequences, said Dr. Paul Offit, manager of the Vaccine Education Center astatine Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Now we are astatine a constituent wherever determination is simply a coagulated 25 oregon 30% of the colonisation that’s saying they don’t privation to get vaccinated, that they are good with allowing this microorganism to proceed to spread, proceed to bash harm and, worst of all, proceed to perchance make variants that are going to beryllium resistant to vaccine-induced immunity,” Offit said.

And vaccinated radical volition apt wage a terms for those choices, CNN aesculapian expert Dr. Leana Wen said. Even though vaccines connection beardown extortion against the virus, being surrounded by unvaccinated radical could pb to corruption spillover, and vaccinated radical could get sick oregon walk connected the corruption to their loved ones, she said.

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CNN’s Keith Allen, Tina Burnside, Jen Christensen, Kacey Cherry, Kaitlan Collins, John Couwels, Rosa Flores, Virginia Langmaid, Kevin Liptak, Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips, Sarah Moon, Jenn Selva and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

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