With 12 states now reporting 70 percent of their adult population is vaccinated with at least one dose, medical experts are concerned about a possible surge of coronavirus cases in states and territories that have fallen behind.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to the White House, told CNN on Thursday that although he’s “fairly certain” the nation won’t see “the kind of surges we’ve seen in the past,” pockets where vaccination rates are low are susceptible.
“If you have a very high percentage of people vaccinated, you’re not going to see a substantial blip. You may see a little, but not anything that even resembles a surge,” Fauci said.
The doctor went on to explain how states that are below the 50 percent vaccination mark might have a “problem.”
“What my concern is, is in those states in which you have relatively few — compared to others — people vaccinated. When you’re below 50 percent of the people being vaccinated, that’s when you’re going to have a problem,” Fauci said.
“I think given the country as a whole, the fact that we have now about 50 percent of adults fully vaccinated and about 62 percent of adults having received at least one dose as a nation, I feel fairly certain you’re not going to see the kind of surges we’ve seen in the past,” the doctor added. “What I am concerned about are those states in which the level of vaccination is low. You may continue to see higher levels of cases as we get into the summer. That’s what my concern is.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, expressed similar concerns during an interview Thursday morning.
“I worry that this virus is an opportunist and that where we have low rates of vaccination are where we may see it again,” Walensky said on NBC. “The issue now is to make sure we get to those communities as well.”
According to the CDC, more than 133 million American adults, approximately 52 percent of the nation’s adult population, are fully vaccinated. However, states like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming have yet to see 50 percent of their adult population vaccinated with at least one dose.
King County in Seattle Washington, seems to be an example of why experts are raising a red flag. Last week, according to local health officials, 97 percent of their new Covid-19 cases are among unvaccinated people.
“At this time, our outbreak is being felt primarily by the unvaccinated,” King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said. “Approximately a half a million people 12 years of age and older remain unvaccinated, and 97 percent or more of current cases are among unvaccinated people. That means if you’re unvaccinated, your risk of Covid-19 is actually higher right now than it was last Memorial Day.”
Duchin added, “We’re moving in the right direction but we’re not down as low as we need to be or would like to be.”