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New “wave” of COVID-19 Delta variant in the US threatening Americans once again, according to the CDC

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Kuldeep Singh
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As the White House admits it will not meet its target of vaccinating 70% of Americans by July 4, federal health officials say fireworks and festivities can continue this year.

“Please enjoy a safe family- and friend-filled holiday weekend,” said Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky during the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s press conference.

The CDC reminds people again that those who are not vaccinated should keep wearing masks around others, but that those who are vaccinated don’t need to.

Walensky stated Americans should be proud of the dramatic progress made in the last six months. Since January, COVID-19-related deaths have plummeted more than 90%.

But the virus is making a comeback, driven by the more transmissible delta variant, which Walensky said she expects to soon surpass the alpha variant as the dominant strain in the nation.

It is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable

Walensky said.

But that progress is threatened: Nevada this week saw the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country, hospitalizations are on the rise again, and the highly contagious delta variant has become the most prevalent form of the virus in the state, adding urgency to the campaign to get more people vaccinated.

Still, in a place where the economy runs on crowds and uninhibited behavior, a return to pandemic-related restrictions and mask requirements seems to be off the table.

Inside the casinos, guests are not required to wear masks if they are fully vaccinated, but employees do not appear to be asking anyone for proof.

“It seems like everything is opening back up, getting back to normal,” Teresa Lee, a 47-year-old tourist from Nashville, Tennessee, said Thursday as she stood on the Strip, looking out over the fountains in front of the Bellagio casino.

Also, the number of patients hospitalized with the virus has grown 33% over the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the levels are far below what they were in December, when hospitals were near capacity.

“Delta (variant) is scary because it’s the most infectious of the virus that we’ve seen and it makes people the sickest,” said Denver Health pulmonologist Dr. Anuj Mehta.

“Where we’re seeing it spread is in pockets of unvaccinated individuals,” Mehta said.

We are celebrating as a country at the same time as we recognize the fact that we’re in a serious situation for those who have not been vaccinated

said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The good news is we have a solution.

He said early data shows all three vaccines available in the U.S. can protect people from the delta variant.

“It works, it’s free, it’s safe,” he said of getting vaccinated.

The Biden administration is working to combat the uptick in cases, announcing plans to surge resources to communities emerging as virus hot spots. Health officials say many of those communities are in the Midwest and Southeast.

Officials continue to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated, saying data from the last six months shows 99.5% of COVID-19-related deaths have been of people who are not vaccinated.

Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

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