Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases doctor, on Tuesday said he is concerned that the widening gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated in America will get worse, leading to possible spikes in coronavirus cases.
“When you have such a low level of vaccination superimposed upon a variant that has a high degree of efficiency of spread, what you are going to see among undervaccinated regions, be that states, cities or counties, you’re going to see these individual types of blips,” Fauci said during an appearance on Don Lemon‘s CNN show. “It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas.”
Federal health officials say after an initial surge of Americans being vaccinated, inoculation rates, particularly in the Southeast and rural Midwest, have declined.
Sixty-six percent of American adults have reportedly been partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, a total that falls short of President Biden‘s stated goal of 70 percent by July 4.
The lag in vaccination rates comes as the delta variant, believed to have begun in India, spreads throughout the world, with a number of cases being reported in the United States in recent weeks.
Recent studies have shown that vaccines being used in the U.S. are effective in fighting off the variant, but unvaccinated Americans remain at high risk of catching the more contagious strain.
“This is entirely avoidable, entirely preventable,” Fauci said. “If you are vaccinated, you diminish dramatically your risk of getting infected and even more dramatically your risk of getting seriously ill. If you are not vaccinated, you are at considerable risk.”
The president has said he is confident the federal government will be able to vaccinate as many Americans as possible and fully reopen the American economy by the end of the year.
“Together, we built an unparalleled vaccination program and managed one of the biggest and most complicated logistical challenges in American history,” Biden said earlier this month. “What we’re seeing is a truly American accomplishment.”