(CNN) With Covid-19 cases surging in 49 states as vaccination rates lag, turning the tide will require Americans to “do something dramatic to protect our country,” an expert said.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday:
“We’re seeing this because the public misunderstood the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people as ‘We can now do whatever we want. Even if we are unvaccinated, we can now behave as if we are vaccinated.'”
Covid-19 cases are surging in nearly every state with the average of new cases at least 10% higher than a week ago — and 38 states are seeing at least a 50% increase, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Many experts have attributed the rise to slowing vaccination rates with only 48.3% of the US population fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I think now is our moment to really double down on our vaccination efforts and our other prevention interventions. We still have to send the same messages as we did last year.” – CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
In Arkansas, where only 35.1% of the population is fully vaccinated, the Delta variant has had a big impact, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Cam Patterson said.
Patterson added that hospitals are “full right now and cases are doubling every 10 days.”
And emergency response services in the state say there are receiving a record number of calls due to the rise in the virus, according to CNN affiliate KATV.
In Missouri, one local health department has asked the state to fund staffing and a location for a Covid-19 care site to handle to rise in severe cases, according to a statement from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
There is still hope for avoiding a fall spike, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, if enough people get vaccinated.
But, if the trend in rising cases continues, cities and states could implement travel restrictions for unvaccinated travelers …