Despite the fact that millions of Americans are already vaccinated, surging coronavirus cases in the United States due to the new and highly contagious Delta variant is making Surgeon General Vivek Murthy “deeply concerned.”
He acknowledged that health officials were expecting to witness some breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals—but he asserted that this does not mean the vaccines are faulty.
“Keep in mind we vaccinated millions and millions of people in the United States. We have, in fact, more than 160 million people who are fully vaccinated right now. So, you will see numbers, a minority, a small minority of people who do have breakthrough infections,” Murthy said in an interview Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
“But here’s the other thing to know: When you’re fully vaccinated, even if you do have a breakthrough infection, it’s much more likely that infection will be either asymptomatic or mild. And that’s really good news that continues to tell us that these vaccines are highly effective, and that’s one of the reasons we are recommending them for people across the country,” he continued.
Murthy also talked about children under twelve who aren’t yet eligible to receive a vaccine dose.
“I want to focus on the kids for a moment here because this is such an important point we don’t talk about enough,” he said.
“For our children under twelve—and I say that as a dad who’s got two kids who are four and three and who don’t have a vaccine available to them yet—our kids depend on us, the people around them being protected, being vaccinated in order to shield them from the virus. And that’s why, again, it’s so important for us to get vaccinated,” he added.
‘Most Serious’ Infection
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also warned over the weekend that for Americans who remain unvaccinated, the fast-spreading Delta variant will likely be the “most serious” infection they will ever experience in their lifetime.
“This virus is so contagious, this variant is so contagious that it’s going to infect the majority—that most people will either get vaccinated or have been previously infected or they will get this Delta variant,” he said in an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation.
In recent weeks, coronavirus cases in the United States have risen in all fifty states—with the seven-day average of daily infections now sitting at more than twenty-six thousand, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. It represents a 67 percent jump from just a week ago, in addition to hospitalizations increasing 36 percent and deaths 26 percent.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.