Half of Americans are now vaccinated, says the White House

Half of Americans are now vaccinated against Covid-19, a White House official said Friday, a major milestone the nation is battling for another surge of new infections fueled by the delta variant.

More than 821,000 doses were administered over the previous day’s total, including 565,000 people who had their first stroke, White House data director Covid Cyrus Shahpar said in a tweet before the data are published on the CDC website. The seven-day average of new vaccinations has grown by 11% since last week and by 44% in the last two weeks, he added.

While the stage is exciting, the country still has a long way to go before the pandemic ends, said Dr. Paul Offit, who advises the Food and Medical Administration on Covid vaccines. The highly contagious delta variant continues to spread rapidly, particularly in regions of the nation with the lowest vaccination rates, he said.

“You had something like 100,000-plus cases and more than 600 deaths yesterday, which tells us we’re not here,” Offit said.

The United States reports an average of about 98,500 infections per day, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University show, which already exceeds the peak in cases seen last summer when the nation did not have a vaccine.

Florida, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi – states with some of the lowest vaccination rates – have done about half of all new Covid cases and hospitalizations in the past week, Jeffrey Zients, response coordinator Covid of the White House told reporters Thursday. Over the past seven days, one in three new Covid cases has occurred in Florida and Texas.

In Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis is resisting calls for further restrictions, infection levels are approaching the peak of the state’s pandemic, when an average of nearly 18,000 new cases per day were reported here at the end of January.

Florida reports an average of about 15,800 new cases each day in the last seven days, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, up 51% from a week ago. This is the second-worst firefight in the United States ranking on average every day nine cases per capita, just behind Louisiana.

The death toll is also rising at an average of 58 Covid deaths per day, up more than 45% from last week, but below the seven-day average of more than 180 deaths a day at the end of January. 2021.

The epidemic threatens to slow the nation’s progress at the end of the pandemic, especially when schools reopen and employers begin returning workers to the office this fall, health experts say.

With the virus circulating widely in states like Florida, the nation is “likely to see even more worrying variants emerge this fall and winter,” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaboration Center. in national and global health law. “America is so close to returning to normalcy. This could be a great return to our national Covid response,” he said.

As homes grow, more companies require their workers to be vaccinated, and federal health officials say they are urging states to offer incentives to their residents.

Some Americans already see the impact of starting without vaccinations and are now receiving the blows, U.S. officials said Thursday.

In Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, the seven-day average of the first reported daily doses has more than doubled since early July, CDC data show, as the outbreak is worsening across the country. In Arkansas, which sees the third worst outbreak in the country based on nine daily cases per capita, vaccinations have nearly tripled.

Zients said Thursday that White House Covid Surge Response Teams are also working with 16 states that are growing cases to address their specific needs.

–Nate Rattner of CNBC contributed to this report.

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