The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Friday that the unvaccinated are fuelling the recent increase of COVID-19 infections in the United States.
Director Rochelle Walensky stated that the Delta version of the new coronavirus was spreading throughout the country, particularly in areas with poor vaccination rates.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” she 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.”
According to the CDC, there were nearly 40,000 new cases and 285 deaths reported in the United States on Thursday, both upswings from lows recorded earlier in the summer.
Walensky said the United States has a seven-day average of about 26,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, a nearly 70% increase over a week ago. Meanwhile, she said about 97% of people hospitalized with the virus are unvaccinated.
The CDC says 185.42 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 160.69 million are fully vaccinated — roughly half the U.S. population.
“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 the country,” Walensky said.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden criticised social media companies like Facebook of disseminating misleading information on COVID-19 and vaccines.
“They’re killing people,” he remarked of them. “Our only epidemic is among the unvaccinated. And they’re murdering people.”
Facebook reacted angrily to Biden’s remarks, with spokesperson Dani Lever stating that the firm “will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts.”
“The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the Internet,” she said in a statement to ABC News. “More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”