Biden says delta Covid variant is ‘particularly dangerous’ for young people
President Joe Biden talks about reaching 300 million vaccines against COVID-19, in the State Dining Room of the White House, on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Washington.
Evan Vucci | PA
President Joe biden Friday doubled his administration’s call for Americans to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible, warn that the highly transmissible delta variant appears to be “particularly dangerous” for young people.
“The data is clear: if you are not vaccinated, you could get seriously ill or die or spread it,” Biden said at a press conference from the White House.
Delta, the variant of Covid first identified in India, “will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago,” he added. “It is a more easily transmitted variant, potentially more deadly and particularly dangerous for young people.”
Biden said the best way for young people to protect themselves is to get the full vaccine.
“Please, please, if you have a shot, get the second shot as soon as you can,” he said.
The president’s comments are his administration’s latest goal – to partially vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4 – is on track to fail as the rate of inoculations slows down.
The chief scientist of the World Health Organization said earlier on Friday that the delta is become the dominant strain of the disease in the world. This is due to its “dramatically increased transmissibility,” WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan told a press conference.
Studies suggest delta is around 60% more transmissible than alpha, the variant first identified in the UK that was more contagious than the original strain that emerged from Wuhan, China in late 2019.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky also said on Friday that she expected the delta to become the dominant variant in the United States and urged people to get vaccinated. The variant now accounts for 10% of all new cases in the United States, up from 6% last week, according to CDC data.
“As worrying as this delta strain is about its hyper transmissibility, our vaccines work,” Walensky told ABC’s “Good Morning America” program. If you get vaccinated, “you will be protected against this delta variant,” she added.
Health experts say the delta strain is of particular concern to young people, many of whom have yet to be vaccinated. While scientists are still unsure whether delta is causing more severe symptoms, there are signs that it might cause symptoms that are different from other variants.
Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, said the delta variant has essentially replaced the alpha, the variant that swept across Europe and later the United States earlier this year. He said as the virus continues to mutate, the United States will need a higher percentage of the vaccinated population.
“How much more information do we need to see that this virus mutates and creates more contagious viruses?” said Offit, also a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee. “We need to vaccinate now. Get everyone vaccinated now.”
More than 176 million Americans, or 53.1% of the population, have had at least one injection on Friday, according to data compiled by the CDC. More than 148 million Americans are fully immunized, according to the agency.
States have an offer incentives ranging from free beer to $ 1 million lotteries to try and convince Americans to get bitten.
On Friday, Biden touted some of these incentives, including that most pharmacies offer 24-hour service on certain days in June.