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Vaccinations Up In Florida, Other States With COVID Surge

ROchelle Walensky CDC.jpeg
AP
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the delta variant is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses known to researchers.

Officials hoped it was a sign that the summer surge is getting the attention of vaccine-hesitant Americans as many hospitals in the South are being overrun with patients.

COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning to rise in Florida and other states where cases are soaring, White House officials said Thursday.

Officials hoped it was a sign that the summer surge, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, is getting the attention of vaccine-hesitant Americans as many hospitals in the South are being overrun with patients.

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole. Officials cited Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada as examples.

A spokesperson for Louisiana’s health department said the state has seen “a little bump” in vaccinations.

Last week, Zients said about one in five patients diagnosed with COVID were in Florida. Officials in several Florida cities note that a majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.

About 59 percent of Florida residents have received at least one dose of the COVID shot, according to the Florida Department of Health. Nationally, 56.3% of Americans have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Jason Wilson, an emergency physician with Tampa General Hospital, has watched the rise in cases with frustration. Unlike earlier in the pandemic, when many patients were in their 70s, he has seen the median patient age fall to the mid-40s.

“I spent a lot of time this fall and last summer saying, ’We’ve got to do these things, these social mitigation strategies until we get that vaccine. Just hang in there,” Wilson told the Associated Press.

Hospitals initially were hopeful as cases declined. But then, he said, “Things just fell flat.”

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the delta variant is one of the most infectious respiratory viruses known to researchers.

“We are yet at another pivotal moment in this pandemic,” she warned.