Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. If you’re at the Nationals game on Sunday, look out for White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden, Harris push big lie about Border Patrol 14 Mexican soldiers briefly detained in El Paso Progressives seething over Biden's migrant policies MORE throwing out the first pitch.
Today: The delta variant is surging, and the CDC director said the unvaccinated are most at risk. President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE is escalating a fight with Facebook over public health disinformation, and the virus is hitting Nevada and Florida.
We'll start with the CDC:
CDC director warns of 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' as cases rise
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyCDC director on kids trick-or-treating: 'If you're able to be outdoors, absolutely' Walensky: 'We don't necessarily have the answer' for annual boosters Pfizer CEO predicts 'normal life' within a year MORE warned of rising cases on Friday, stating that COVID-19 is "becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated" and that vaccinated people are protected against severe disease.
The highly transmissible delta variant is fueling expanding outbreaks, but they are centered in parts of the country with lower vaccination rates.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said during a White House press briefing. "We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage, because unvaccinated people are at risk."
The country is averaging about 26,000 cases per day, nearly a 70 percent increase from the previous seven-day average, Walensky said. Hospitalizations are also up to about 2,790 per day, a 36 percent increase from the prior week, and deaths are up 26 percent, to 211 per day.
The reassuring news for vaccinated people: Almost all of the hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people. Walensky said 97 percent of people entering the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
"The good news is if you are fully vaccinated you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization and death, and are even protected against the known variants, including the delta variant, circulating in this country," Walensky said.
Biden escalates fight with Facebook, says social media platforms ‘killing people’
President Biden on Friday said that social media companies that allow coronavirus misinformation to spread on their platforms are “killing people,” escalating a fight with Facebook and other companies as the White House warns about the spread of inaccurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden was asked by reporters at the White House on Friday afternoon what his message is to social media platforms on coronavirus misinformation.
“They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said.
Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyConfusion reigns over vaccine booster rollout CDC director partially overrules panel, signs off on boosters CDC panel authorizes COVID-19 vaccine boosters for high-risk people, those over 65 MORE issued an advisory Thursday labeling health misinformation an “urgent threat” amid the Biden administration’s push to get more people vaccinated. Murthy said that misinformation is among a range of reasons why some Americans are not getting vaccinated against COVID-19 despite vaccinations being widely available.
The White House is asking Facebook and other social media companies to be more aggressive in removing “harmful” posts that spread disinformation and flagging posts that spread information, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Speaking of pandemic of the unvaccinated: COVID-19 cases surge in Nevada as federal government prepares to send help
Coronavirus cases are surging in Nevada as the federal government is preparing to send help to the state for vaccination efforts.
The state’s average new cases a day, hospitalizations and positivity rate are all at their highest levels since February as almost half of the state’s population who qualify for the vaccine have not received it, state health officials said Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
The 14-day average for new COVID-19 cases daily is up to 517 per day. Average hospitalizations over the past two weeks is at 705 per day, and the positivity rate is up to 10.9 percent.
The Nevada Health Association said the reason for the outbreak, which is taking part in the unvaccinated population, is that those people are not wearing masks or social distancing.
“Individuals are not following CDC guidelines related to mask wearing for unvaccinated persons or maintaining social distancing in crowded indoor locations,” the Nevada Hospital Association said.
At the current rate, the state won’t reach 70 percent of its population vaccinated until December, the AP noted.
And in Florida: The state accounts for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 infections, the White House said
Nearly 20 percent of the nation's new coronavirus infections are now happening in Florida alone, according to a White House official.
Cases are rising across the nation as a whole, as the more transmissible delta variant spreads, but are concentrated in areas with low vaccination rates.
"Just four states accounted for more than 40 percent of all cases in the past week, with 1 in 5 of all cases occurring in Florida alone," White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsGOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in Travel industry hopes for rebound with loosened COVID-19 restrictions MORE told reporters during a briefing Friday.
"We will likely ... continue to experience an increase in COVID cases in the weeks ahead, with these cases concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates," Zients said.
Currently, the state is reporting an average of 29 new infections for every 100,000 people per day — more than four times the national average.
Americans' confidence in science split heavily along party lines: Gallup
American confidence in science has split heavily along party lines, according to a Gallup poll released Friday.
The survey found that Democrats were very confident in science, with 79 percent saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the field, compared to just 45 percent of Republicans who said the same. Among independents, 65 percent expressed confidence.
The gap between Democrats and Republicans was the widest of any institution measured in Gallups polls this year.
The last time Gallup polled Americans on their confidence in science was 1975. GOP confidence in science is down 27 percentage points since then, compared with a 12 point increase among Democrats. Confidence declined 8 points among independents.
What we’re reading
After a steep plunge in virus cases, every state is seeing an uptick (New York Times)
High-profile COVID-19 cases are disrupting Olympic rosters and MLB games (NPR)
Pentagon: 70 percent of service members have received first dose of Covid vaccine (Politico)
American Dental Association pressured to extract itself from Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarDomestic extremists return to the Capitol Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally Washington ramps up security ahead of Sept. 18 rally MORE (Vice News)
State by state
Southern Nevada health officials recommend return to indoor masking for vaccinated, unvaccinated amid rapid spread of COVID-19 (Nevada Independent)
Iowa abortions climbed 14% in 2020, after jumping 25% the previous year, new state data show (Des Moines Register)
Delta is driving a wedge through Missouri (The Atlantic)