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The White House has dedicated itself this week to trying to put order in a health crisis that is worsening again and to call on the population to be vaccinated against the urgent danger of the delta variant of the coronavirus, whose viral load is up to 1,200 times higher than the mutations above. President Joe Biden had never been seen so worried, pleading with his fellow citizens to get vaccinated, begging them to take responsibility for ending the nightmare. “We are facing the pandemic of the unvaccinated,” the president declared in a speech Thursday at the White House. Less than half of US citizens received both doses (by comparison, in Spain the number is almost 57%, and in Brazil, 19.5%). There are 90 million people without protection. In the 65+ population segment, 90% of Americans have received at least one dose and 80% are fully vaccinated. But the numbers dwindle with age: only 59% of those over 18 have received the dose that each pharmaceutical company requires.
The president spoke of “freedom”, referring to those who use that word as a right not to be vaccinated. The representative was very explicit in saying that freedom implies “responsibility” and that being responsible means taking the vaccine. In the face of this crisis, the Joe Biden Administration ordered the Pentagon to consider when it will add covid-19 immunization to the list of required vaccines for members of the Armed Forces and urged state capitols to offer up to a $100 incentive (about 521 for people to decide to receive the vaccine. In addition, the country’s borders are closed to the outside and there was a return to the recommendation – and even to the imposition in some States – of the use of masks in closed places, including for vaccinated people.
The reaction of the political opposition was so fierce that the president even declared in a speech midweek that it was not “Red States [republicanos] or blue states [democratas]”. “It’s about life or death,” the president proclaimed. From the pulpit offered by the White House, he glossed the virtues of vaccines with the objective that people attend a vaccination post and receive, free of charge, the injection. “It’s not just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting others,” he added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pulled his son out of a summer camp where he was supposed to wear a mask. “Experts have communicated their legitimate fears that masks harm more than they protect, as they can have a negative impact on children’s learning, speech and emotional and physical health,” explained the Republican. This happened last Thursday and, in the following days, groups of people burned masks in the streets in protest against the new directive of the health authorities, which they consider violates their individual freedom.
As the social and political storm was enacted, more than 70% of the country was made up of areas where there was a “high” or “important” risk of contagion. About 97% of patients hospitalized with coronaviruses were not vaccinated, a number that gives an idea of the need for this preventive measure. The total number of cases in the US reaches more than 34 million people, while deaths exceed 610,000.
The press has been reporting for days about hospitals collapsed due to lack of beds for children in cities like Baton Rouge (Louisiana). According to CNN, a doctor at the Our Lady of the Lake medical center in that city said there are now more sick children than at the beginning of the pandemic, and in much more serious condition. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, this week emphasized the need to take the virus seriously and the threat it poses to children.
“It is a mistake to say that only 400 of these 600,000 covid-19 deaths occurred in children,” said Walensky on the Senate Health Committee. “Children shouldn’t die. So 400 is a lot,” he continued. So far, no covid-19 vaccine has been given the green light for children under 12 years of age. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna are continuing clinical trials, but it will likely take months before these children can receive the vaccine.
Last Thursday, an internal report from the CDC, to which the The Washington Post had access, sounded all the alarms by stating that the delta variant spreads as easily as chicken pox. After this information, the next step that health authorities had to take in the fight against the coronavirus was to recognize that “the war has changed”.
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