The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention struck a new tone of urgency on Thursday about the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the United States is “not out of the woods yet” and is once again at “another pivotal point in this pandemic” as the highly infectious Delta variant rips through communities with low rates of vaccination.
Dr. Walensky pleaded with unvaccinated people to “please take the Delta variant seriously,” adding, “This virus has no incentive to let up, and it remains in search of the next vulnerable person to infect. Please consider getting vaccinated and take precautions until you do.”
White House officials also announced Thursday that they will spend $1.6 billion authorized by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan on testing and other mitigation measures in “high risk congregant settings,” including homeless shelters and prisons. And they said they would send $100 million to rural health clinics to support vaccine education and outreach efforts in those communities, where vaccination rates are generally low.
Amid questions about whether the C.D.C. might revisit its mask guidance, Dr. Walensky said that the C.D.C.’s current guidance remains unchanged, adding, “If you are vaccinated you get exceptional protection from the vaccines, but you have the opportunity to make the personal choice to add extra layers of protection.”