The United States is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 infections due to a combination of the more contagious Delta strain of the coronavirus and lower vaccination rates in many states.
Among dozens of states reporting a steady increase in new COVID-19 infections is the midwestern state of Missouri, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. About 45% of all Missourians have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, far behind the national average of at least 55%. The situation is much worse in rural areas of the state, where less than 25% of residents have been vaccinated.
St. Louis County officials say the rate of new coronavirus cases has increased by 63% in the past two weeks.
The worsening situation in Missouri prompted the Biden administration to deploy a “surge response team” made up of experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies to help local officials with testing and vaccination efforts.
The rise of new coronavirus infections has been blamed on growing political opposition in some states as well as general distrust of vaccines.
In the southeastern state of Tennessee, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, director of the state government’s vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs, said she was fired this week amid backlash from conservative state lawmakers on her efforts to raise awareness among teens and young Tennessee was given. About COVId-19 vaccines.
Fiscus said she wrote a memo suggesting that some teens may be eligible for vaccinations without their parents’ consent, leading to their dismissal.