Health experts are facing an incomplete picture in what's causing the delta variant surge.
Once again they are facing declines in testing and a lack of granular data about hospitalizations, which makes it more difficult to explain why the virus has circulated.
New outbreaks, including widespread cases among students, as well as scientists' ability to catch other strains that may emerge over time are obstacles in the fight.
“Without adequate data, policymakers are just swinging in the dark,” said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a clinical professor of population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California. “What you get is a discordant response and somewhat chaotic policies that frequently change, and people are left worse off.”
Official case numbers are likely lower than the actual amount of COVID-19 infections nationwide.
“There’s sort of the assumption that if I’m vaccinated, I’m protected, so very mild symptoms that may have prompted testing over the winter just aren’t being picked up right now,” Dr. Benjamin Lee, a pediatric infections disease physician at the University of Vermont.
The CDC has referred to the delta variant, as "highly contagious, likely to be more severe."
The delta variant now accounts for nearly 100% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, CDC data confirmed.
Americans will need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Delta rise prompted the announcement, and the booster shots wouldn’t be available until mid- or late September.
An application submitted by Pfizer-BioNTech to the FDA for the additional shots is awaiting to be cleared.
The sentiment on booster shots changed, after data showed waning immunity in the US. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that booster shots would be “likely” for everyone eventually.
The final decision has not been made, but information about who would get the extra shots and when will be available.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, provided a warning of the spread of the delta COVID-19 variant.
Fauci said the U.S. could see more variants of the coronavirus evade the protection of vaccines if it does not get the spread of the delta variant under control.
"That will happen, if we don't get good control over the community spread which is the reason why I and my colleagues keep saying and over again, it is very important to get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can," Fauci said. "People who say, 'I don't want to get vaccinated because it's me and I'll worry about me, I'm not having any impact on anybody else,' that's just not the case."
The delta variant is "highly contagious, likely to be more serve" than previous known strains of the coronavirus and that “breakthrough infections may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases,” according to the CDC.
"And when you give it ample opportunity to mutate, you may sooner or later get another variant, and it is possible that that variant might be in some respects worse than the already very difficult variant we're dealing with now, which is a major reason why you want to completely suppress the circulation of the virus in the community," Fauci added.
Dr. Fauci didn't think the country would be forced to go back into lockdowns, but warned "things will get worse" than they currently are.
"I don't think we're gonna see lockdowns. I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country -- not enough to crush the outbreak -- but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter. But things are going to get worse," Dr. Fauci said. "If you look at the acceleration of the number of cases, the seven-day average has gone up substantially. You know what we really need to do, Jon, we say it over and over again and it's the truth -- we have 100 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not getting vaccinated. We are seeing an outbreak of the unvaccinated."