NewsWorldLocal officials raise alarms about another possible wave of...

Local officials raise alarms about another possible wave of covid-19 infections

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(CNN) – Local officials are raising alarms about a surge in COVID-19 infections just as the nation prepares to celebrate a July 4 holiday that many hoped would usher in the resumption of normal life.

In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, cases are on the rise, authorities said. In Los Angeles County, where the vaccination rate is slightly above the national average, officials warned of a possible new wave of infections, especially given the rapid spread of the delta variant.

“Now we are going in the wrong direction yet again with COVID-19 infections here in the state of Arkansas,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, during the weekly state briefing on Tuesday.

“With the July 4 holiday and finally the kids going back to school, we have to worry that this is a trend that can continue. And if it does, it would appear that we are at the beginning of the third wave of covid-19 here in the state of Arkansas, “he said.

More than 90% of active virus cases are people who have not been vaccinated, Governor Asa Hutchinson said during the briefing.

The state has recorded 988 deaths from Covid-19 since late January, and 99.6% of those deaths were people who were not vaccinated, Hutchinson added. In the same period of time, more than 98% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated.

Arkansas has fully vaccinated 34.3% of its total population, federal data shows.

“The vaccine, as well as the continued practice of social distancing and wearing masks when necessary, are our avenues out of a third wave of covid-19,” said Patterson.

Mass Vaccination Center at Pomona Fairplex is almost empty on June 10, 2021 in Pomona, California.

Los Angeles County, where 59% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated, on Thursday reported 506 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in a single day since mid-April, the Health Director said. , Barbara Ferrer.

The threat of another wave may be caused by the 4 million people who have not yet been vaccinated, he warned.

“We have enough risk and enough unvaccinated people for delta to pose a threat to our recovery and the use of masks now could help prevent a resurgence of transmission,” Ferrer said, rejecting criticism of the guide to resuming mask use. indoor.

The county is one of the first areas in the US to revise its mask recommendation after California lifted most of its COVID-19 restrictions last month. The new voluntary mask guide is needed until health officials can “better understand how and to whom the delta variant is spreading,” the county public health department said.

Overall, the US saw a 10% increase in the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who heads the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC).

“Looking state by state and county by county, it is clear that the communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable. All of this is true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible delta variant, ”Walensky said.

Two-thirds of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, CDC data shows. During the past week, an average of 661,795 people were fully vaccinated daily.

The 4th of July celebrations are fine. But first: be careful and get vaccinated

Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a flash of good news ahead of the holiday: Americans can celebrate with proper precautions, he said.

“That is, if you were vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection. If you are not, you should wear a mask and you should think very seriously about getting vaccinated, “said Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, echoed Fauci’s advice.

“It is an appropriate time to step back and celebrate the progress we have made,” Zients said during a briefing.

Holidays mean more people will be on the go.

In Chicago, Friday is expected to be the busiest day for travel at O’Hare and Midway International Airports since the start of the pandemic, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. More than 220,000 passengers are expected to pass through O’Hare and 41,000 passengers at Midway on Friday, the department said in a statement.

Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also expected to see its busiest travel spikes since the pandemic began, an airport spokesperson told CNN. During the period from Wednesday to Monday, the airport expects more than 1.7 million passengers.

J&J vaccines protect against variants and do not need boosters, data shows

Johnson & Johnson said its single-dose coronavirus vaccine provides immunity that lasts for at least eight months and appears to provide protection against the delta variant.

‘Current data from the eight months studied thus far shows that the Johnson & Johnson single-dose covid-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not diminish; rather, we see improvement over time, ”said Dr. Mathai Mammen, head of research and development for J & J’s Janssen vaccine division, said in a statement.

The company said that one dose elicits a long-lasting antibody response and generates immune cells called T cells that can last for that length of time.

Additionally, the company said that additional data from its study of the covid-19 vaccine will be available in the coming months.

And for those who received a J&J vaccine, Fauci said clinical data currently does not show the need for booster doses.

Fauci added that the decision to reinforce may depend on local situations and could be decided locally.

“But only a formal recommendation should be made based on clinical data,” Fauci said.

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Devon M. Sayers, Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox, Cheri Mossburg, and Jen Christensen contributed to this report.

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