Dr. Anthony Fauci said there seem to be “two kinds of America” as some people remain skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines even in the face of the more severe delta variant.
The delta variant has ripped through the unvaccinated population in America, with Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky claiming the variant is “spreading with incredible efficiency and now represents more than 83% of the virus circulating the United States.”
The individuals who are hospitalized with infection are largely those who are unvaccinated – about 99% of individuals, according to Kristen Choi, an assistant professor at UCLA School of Nursing.
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“It’s kind of like we have two kinds of America,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have the very vulnerable unvaccinated part, and we have the really relatively protected vaccinated part, so if you were vaccinated, you were really in a very different category than someone who’s not vaccinated.”
A recent poll showed that around 80% of unvaccinated Americans say that they probably will not or definitely will not get the shot. Recent vaccination efforts have slowed as America achieved 57.1% vaccination of its eligible population – Americans aged 12 or older.
Republican Governor Kay Ivy of Alabama recently told reporters that the unvaccinated people are living “a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.”
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The persistence of hesitancy has “frustrated” Fauci, who thought the rise of the delta variant would push more people to get the shots. Instead, leaders are “practically pleading” with unvaccinated individuals.
“What I would really like to see is more and more of the leaders in those areas that are not vaccinating to get out and speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said. “I was very heartened to hear people like Steve Scalise come out and say, ‘hey, we need to get vaccinated.’”
“Even Gov. DeSantis right now in Florida is saying the same thing,” he added.
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About a month ago, President Biden and other leaders tout numbers that indicated the virus was in retreat, and Fauci said that it is retreating – but for vaccinated people only.
Florida’s hospitalization rate jumped by about 65% since last week and nearly tripled since June 14, according to FOX 13 Tampa Bay. The state’s vaccination effort has stalled at around 58% of adults fully vaccinated.
To help those individuals, Fauci has suggested that even vaccinated people may need to consider wearing face masks in public indoor spaces.
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“The CDC agrees with that ability and discretion capability to say, you know, you’re in a situation where we’re having a lot of dynamics of infection,” Fauci explained. “So even if you are vaccinated, you should wear a mask.”
However, he stressed that the decision should be a “local” one.