The United States "is failing" in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, a senior public health official warned this Sunday, August 8, at a time when the country registers the highest levels of infections in six months.
"We should never have gotten to where we are," said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on ABC's This Week. "Yes, we are failing."
The increase in the presence of the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus generated that the total of new daily cases reached 118,000, its highest level since February, deaths increased 89% in the last two weeks, and children's hospitals in states like Florida will be "overwhelmed" as young people are increasingly affected.
Fears about the delta variant have led to rising vaccination rates.
Yet millions of people, especially in conservative majority areas, remain skeptical despite scientific reports confirming the safety of vaccines
"We would not be where we are with this increase in the delta if we had been more effective in vaccinating everyone," Collins said. "Now we are paying a terrible price."
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, highlighted, in remarks to NBC, the potential final approval of key vaccines
by the federal Food and Drug Administration this month.
But those under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccines
, and Collins said the number of children hospitalized with Covid
is now at an all-time high of 1,450.
He also warned that if children who return to school in person are not required to wear masks "this virus will spread more widely."
The Centers for Disease Control tweeted this Sunday that even asymptomatic children can transmit the coronavirus
and defended the use of masks "in closed environments, including schools."