Unprotected by Choice: America’s Latest Challenge

The US is entering a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” as demand for jabs slows and the Delta variant whips through unprotected populations, CDC chief Rochelle Walensky warned Friday.
As cases among the unvaccinated rise—and as more hospitalizations and deaths inevitably follow—she urged holdouts to get vaccinated for the sake of their communities and young children who can’t yet be vaccinated themselves, The New York Times reports.
99.5% of COVID-19 deaths occur among people who have not been vaccinated, according to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, CNN reports.

Warning Signs:

  • In 48 states, case numbers are 10% higher than the previous week.

  • LA County cases are up 300% since July 4.

  • In Alabama—which has among the lowest vaccination rates—just 11 people turned up to a 3.5 hour vaccination event.

Although numbers are moving up, overall US hospitalizations are a seventh of what they were mid-January.
But zooming in on some localities with low vaccination rates, it seems the worst is yet to come, reports The Atlantic’s Ed Yong.
COVID-19 wards may be less packed, but patients are trending younger and sicker. 

For health workers, the hamster wheel of exhausting routines continues: constantly adjusting ventilators, entire teams regularly flipping patients onto and off of their backs, nurses “drenched in sweat” from bulky PPE.
The difference: Treating the willfully unvaccinated is a new strain of demoralizing.
“I’m losing a little bit of faith in mankind. But you can’t just not go to work,” said Missouri nurse Tracy Hill.

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