“With July 4th holiday coming up and eventually kids going back to school, we have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue. And if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of Covid-19 here in the state of Arkansas,” he said.
More than 90% of active virus cases are people who have not been vaccinated, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during the briefing.
The state saw 988 Covid-19 deaths since late January, and 99.6% of those deaths were people who were not vaccinated, Hutchinson added. In the same time period, more than 98% of those hospitalized with Covid-19 were not vaccinated.
“The vaccine, as well as continued practicing of social distancing and masking when that is necessary, are our pathways out of a third surge of Covid-19,” Patterson said.
The threat of another wave can be triggered by the 4 million people who have yet to get vaccinated, she warned.
“We have enough risk and enough unvaccinated people for Delta to pose a threat to our recovery and masking up now, could help prevent a resurgence in transmission,” Ferrer said, pushing back against criticism about guidance to resume mask-wearing indoors.
Overall, the US saw a 10% increase in the seven-day average of Covid-19 cases, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Looking state by state and county by county, it is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable. This is all true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant,” Walensky said.
Two-thirds of adults in the US have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, CDC data shows. Over the past week, an average of 661,795 people became fully vaccinated daily.
4th of July celebrations are OK. But first: Be careful and get vaccinated
Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a glimmer of good news ahead of the holiday: Americans can celebrate with the proper precautions, he said.
“That is, if you were vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection. If you are not, you should wear a mask, and you should think very seriously about getting vaccinated,” said Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, echoed Fauci’s advice.
“It’s an appropriate time to step back and celebrate the progress we’ve made,” Zients said during a briefing.
The holiday means that more people will be on the move.
In Chicago, Friday is expected to be the busiest day of travel at O’Hare and Midway International Airports since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. More than 220,000 passengers are expected to pass through O’Hare and 41,000 passengers at Midway on Friday, the department said in a statement.
Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also expected to see its busiest travel surges since the pandemic began, an airport spokesperson told CNN. During the period from Wednesday through Monday, the airport expects over 1.7 million passengers.
J&J vaccines protect against variants and don’t need boosters, data shows
Johnson & Johnson said its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides immunity that lasts at least eight months, and it appears to provide protection against the Delta variant.
“Current data for the eight months studied so far show that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time,” Dr. Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J’s Janssen vaccine arm, said in a statement.
The company said one dose elicits both a lasting antibody response and generates immune cells called T-cells that can last for that time period.
Further, the company said additional data from its study of the Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in the coming months.
And for those who received a J&J shot, Fauci said clinical data currently do not show a need to administer booster doses.
Fauci added that the decision to boost may depend on local situations and could be decided on a local level.
“But you should only be making a formal recommendation based on clinical data,” Fauci said
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Devon M. Sayers, Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox, Cheri Mossburg and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.