The Delta variant now accounts for more than half of the new coronavirus cases in the United States —52%. Almost all of the new cases — 99.7% —are among people who have not been vaccinated.
In Mississippi, a state with a low-vaccination rate, health officials urged people to avoid crowds. And in other vaccine-hesitant communities, there are new efforts to push back the Delta variant by encouraging more people to get the shot, Michael George reports for "CBS This Morning: Saturday."
The NAACP put boots on the ground in Louisville neighborhoods where only 30% of residents have been vaccinated, hoping flyers and conversations get more people to get shots.
The effort comes as cases are rising in 26 states. Hospitalization rates are up in 17 states — 27% in Florida, almost exclusively among the unvaccinated.
The far corners of Utah are hit hard, too.
"We're seeing people that are extremely sick with it," said Dr. Greg Gardner, chief of emergency medicine at Mountain West Hospital in Tooele, Utah. "A lot sicker than what they were the majority of the time in the winter time."
The demographic is younger since then.
Gardner said, "We haven't seen anybody that has been vaccinated."
Fifty-five percent of all Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and almost half of the nation is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With the pandemic persisting and the country yet to achieve herd immunity, there are questions about how long vaccinated people will remain protected. Questions like: Will the 158 million fully vaccinated Americans each need a booster shot?
Both the FDA and CDC said no on Friday: the fully vaccinated "do not need a booster at this time."
But both Pfizer and BioNtech officials announced they were seeking emergency-use authorization for a booster because antibody levels in the blood may decline six months after immunization, though studies dispute that, and leading physicians are counseling a go-slow approach.
Dr. Celine Gounder, a New York infectious disease specialist, said, "I think the headline here is that if you have received both doses of the Pfizer, or for that matter, the Moderna vaccine, you are fully protected against severe disease, hospitalization and death, even with the Delta variant."