The CDC considers a county to have “high” transmission if there have been 100 or more cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population or a test positive rate of 10% or more in the past seven days.
As vaccinations have increased, cases of the virus have declined. The overall forecast released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s project that new Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will likely continue to decline over the next four weeks.
Current vaccination rates have started to decline – and are now less than a third of the peak rate of around 3.3 million per day in April. But the July 4 target is still realistic – if people don’t get complacent, Fauci told NBC News.
CNN medical analyst Leana Wen warned that after Memorial Day weekend, the United States is still two weeks away from seeing the results of its first stress test, as nearly half of the country is still not vaccinated.
Even as cases stabilize or decline from their current rate of decline, Wen said she worries some communities remain vulnerable.
“You have areas of the country with very low vaccination rates,” she said. “I am really concerned that unvaccinated people in these areas are spreading the coronavirus to each other. “
Fauci also said he was concerned about communities that are experiencing high levels of the spread. He told NBC News it was too early to lift mask warrants in these areas.
“If you go back to masking, you’re going to end up having a risk of spiking again,” he said.
New York City offers school vaccinations
Now that vaccines are available for children as young as 12, New York City will begin offering school vaccines for children ages 12 to 17, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.
The program will begin Friday at four schools in the Bronx and eventually expand to five boroughs in the coming weeks. The city is teaming up with UFT, a union that represents most of the teachers in New York’s public school system, to get as many children vaccinated before the end of the school year later this month, said by Blasio.
Currently, about 118,000 New York City children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been vaccinated, or about 23% of the city’s children in that age group, de Blasio said.
After more than a year of distance learning, many people want to make the school a safe place for their students to return.
Studies are underway in the hope of making a vaccine available to children as young as 6 months old. These trials can still take months to ensure that the doses are safe and effective.
More vaccinations are an uphill battle
Significant mitigation strategies may be needed in areas where there is large-scale community transmission, the CDC said, including in community settings, such as schools and workplaces.
In addition to masks and social distancing, generalized vaccinations are essential for reducing transmission, experts said.
But after a rapid wave of enthusiastic participants, the rest are the ones who have often been given false information about their security or who do not have access.
As a result, the road to vaccinating the rest of the population can be an uphill battle from now on, US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy said on Wednesday, but “we are not giving up.”
“Because we were so successful at the start, now we come to the part of the campaign that is more difficult,” said Murthy. “We have to look further, if you want to – convince more people, get the right information, further increase access.”
Early successes are useful in protecting large swathes of the nation – but reaching levels that will stop the community from spreading will require a shift in strategy, Murthy said.
“This is a multi-faceted campaign recognizing that people have different reasons why they are not being vaccinated right now, but we need to work on all three fronts: mobilization, education and improving access, ”Murthy said. “This is how we are going to vaccinate the nation.”
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Ben Tinker, Jacqueline Howard, Amanda Watts and Laura Ly contributed to this report.
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