President Biden said Friday that the Delta variant of COVID-19 won’t trigger new lockdowns in the US, but that it may cause more infections in regions with lower vaccination rates.
“No, it’s not a lockdown, but some areas will be very hurt,” Biden said at the White House as he celebrated the administration of 300 million vaccine shots during his first 150 days in office.
“Where people have gotten two shots, that Delta variant is highly unlikely to result in anything other than, I mean, it’s — the existing vaccines are very effective,” he said.
The US mass-vaccination campaign began six months ago under President Donald Trump and more than 65 percent of US adults have received at least one shot. According to CDC data, 55.4 percent of adults are fully vaccinated.
The Delta variant contributed to an unexpected surge in new cases in India in April and May, and it’s blamed for an increase this month in UK diagnoses.
Preliminary research indicates that vaccines are effective against the mutation.
“It’s a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier and particularly dangerous for young people,” Biden said Friday.
“But the good news is we have the solution. The science and the data are clear. The best way to protect yourself against these variants are to get fully vaccinated. So please, please, if you have one shot, get the second shot as soon as you can.”
States and major US cities lifted most COVID-19 rules, including mask mandates and occupancy restrictions on businesses, this month due to high rates of vaccination and plummeting infections.
Polling indicates that Republicans and African-Americans are less likely to get vaccinated. Many southern states, along with conservative-leaning Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, Idaho and Wyoming, have lower rates of vaccination, according to government data.
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Georgia on Friday to promote vaccination at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr preached in the 1960s. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) was formerly the church’s pastor.
“Getting vaccinated is about building the power of community. Getting vaccinated is about building the power of our country, and we can do this Georgia,” Harris said.
She added: “let us work together and do everything that we know is within our power to get in front of this thing and then let’s translate that power into everything else that is before us in terms of the unfinished work that needs to be done.”