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Iran Press TV

Top US health official: America is 'failing' on COVID

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 08 August 2021 5:32 PM

A top American public health official has warned that the United States is "failing," as the country is recording its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases in six months.

"We should not really have ever got to the place we are," Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told ABC News on Sunday, according to AFP. "In that regard, yes, we are failing."

The US is now averaging more than 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, as the Delta variant has spread throughout the country. In late June, the US was averaging about 11,000 cases a day. Total daily new cases have now surged to 118,000, their highest since February.

COVID-related deaths are now up 89 percent over the past two weeks in the US while the COVID death rate has declined around the world.

Millions of people, especially in conservative areas of the United States, are skeptical of vaccines despite scientific data confirming their safety.

"We would not be in the place we are right now with this Delta surge if we had been more effective in getting everybody" vaccinated, Collins said. "Now we're paying a terrible price."

Meanwhile, children's hospitals in several American states are being "overwhelmed" as young people are increasingly affected by the virus.

Collins said the number of children hospitalized with COVID is now at an all-time high of 1,450.

The official said that if children returning to in-person schooling are not required to wear masks, "this virus will spread more widely."

"It will probably result in outbreaks in schools, and kids will have to go back to remote learning, which is the one thing we want to prevent," he stated.

The US Centers for Disease Control said in a statement on Sunday that even asymptomatic children can spread COVID-19. "Children 2 years or older should wear masks in public indoor settings, including schools."

US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Sunday called on schools "to follow the guidance from CDC, and let our education leaders lead."

Florida is one of the states hardest-hit by the latest surge. The state reported 134,506 new COVID-19 cases over the last week, more than any other 7-day period during the pandemic, according to data published on Friday by the state health department, which releases COVID-19 data on a weekly basis. An average of 19,215 cases were reported each day.

Despite this, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an order barring the state's school districts from mandating mask-wearing. However, a handful of school districts said they would defy the order.

"Our children's hospitals are completely overwhelmed," said Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University.

"Our pediatricians, the nurses, the staff, are exhausted, and the children are suffering. And it is absolutely devastating."

Meanwhile, top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the federal Food and Drug Administration may give the final approval of key vaccines -- something some skeptics have said they need to hear.

"I hope that it's within the month of August," Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease told NBC News.

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