Well-Being Prevention & Cures

Top US health expert says unvaccinated are ‘sitting ducks’ for delta variant amid surge

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Story at a glance

  • Daily COVID-19 cases could soon surpass the 200,000 threshold, according to a top public health expert.
  • NIH Director Francis Collins told Fox News that average daily COVID-19 cases — up 700 percent since July at nearly 130,000 — are showing “no signs of having peaked.”
  • “I will be surprised if we don’t cross 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks, and that’s heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in that space again,” Collins told Fox News on Sunday.

Daily COVID-19 cases could soon surpass the 200,000 threshold once again as the delta variant sweeps across the country, the director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) said Sunday. 

NIH Director Francis Collins told Fox News that average daily COVID-19 cases — up 700 percent since July at nearly 130,000 — are showing “no signs of having peaked.”

“I will be surprised if we don’t cross 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks, and that’s heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in that space again,” Collins said.

“That was January-February, that shouldn’t be August. But here we are with the delta variant, which is so contagious, and this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated who are sitting ducks for this virus and that’s the mess we’re in,” he continued. “We’re in a world of hurt and it’s a critical juncture to try to do everything we can to turn that around.”


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Currently, 50.7 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while nearly 60 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Collins also addressed anticipated booster shots, which have yet to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) except for the certain immunocompromised individuals. 

“There is a concern that the vaccine may start to wane in its effectiveness,” Collins said. “And delta is a nasty one for us to try to deal with. The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe beginning first with healthcare providers, as well as people in nursing homes, and then gradually moving forward.”


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Internal documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than a million Americans have received an unauthorized third dose of a vaccine, ABC reported last week.


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