The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday said that Delta, a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in India and currently sweeping through the United Kingdom, now makes up at least 10% of all US cases. On May 22, the variant had made up only 2.7% of cases.
The CDC also now designated Delta as a variant of concern, which means the agency officially recognizes that the variant may carry a risk of more severe illness and transmissibility. In addition to Delta, the CDC has noted five other variants of concern.
The rapid rise of the variant in the United Kingdom—where it now accounts for 90% of cases—has slowed that nation’s reopening efforts by 4 or 5 weeks.
New York fully opens with 70% of adults having at least 1 vaccine dose
In the United States, both California and New York are now fully reopened after successful vaccination campaigns.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the state was relaxing all remaining COVID-19 restrictions after reaching its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the population, according to Fox News. Masks will still be required in schools, subways, hospitals, nursing homes, larger venues, and jails and prisons.
Yesterday, the United States reported 11,304 new COVID-19 cases and 339 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. And the CDC COVID Data Tracker shows that 375,186,675 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 312,915,170 have been administered, with 146,456,124 Americans fully vaccinated (64.7% of adults have had at least one dose).
The country has two and a half weeks until the Fourth of July, the deadline President Joe Biden has set for all Americans 18 and older to have had at least one vaccine dose.
To celebrate what Biden touts as the nation's Independence Day from the virus, the president is planning to hold a Fourth of July celebration at the White House for first responders, essential workers, and military service members and their families to mark the nation's victory over the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. More than 1,000 guests are expected, making this the largest White House event of Biden's presidency.
CDC offers first guidance on ‘long COVID’
In a much anticipated move, the CDC published this week guidance for health providers on how to treat patients with "long" COVID-19 infections, defined as those experiencing symptoms of the virus at least 4 weeks after a confirmed acute infection.
The CDC said primary care providers are most well-suited for handling these patients and that patients with post–COVID-19 conditions may share some symptoms that occur in patients who experience chronic fatigue syndrome, post-treatment Lyme disease, and mast cell activation syndrome.
Other US developments
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday cleared 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine that were produced at the Baltimore manufacturing plant run by Emergent BioSolutions, according to the Wall Street Journal. The FDA had previously rejected 60 million doses from the plant because of possible contamination.
- Congress and a private group are taking the first steps to investigate the pandemic and the nation's response to it.