New York, Aug 5 : The White House communications war room is struggling to handle the fallout of the chaotic communication on the precise level of panic needed to deal with the Covid-19 Delta variant surge across the 50 states of the US.
"There's a lot of misinformation out there, so let me state the facts: If you're vaccinated, you're unlikely to get Covid-19. And if you're vaccinated and still get COVID-19 a" it'll most likely be a mild case," President Joe Biden tweeted Tuesday, after days of mixed messaging from top public health officials in the US.
"Vaccinated people almost never are hospitalized with Covid-19," Biden wrote.
Biden's outreach comes even as the Delta variant is blamed for driving new cases which are averaging more than 70,000 a day. This is despite 70 per cent of US adults having received at least one Covid-19 shot and the latest surge being called the pandemic of the unvaccinated.
Through it all, guidance on masks has been a constantly shifting goal post. Americans are being told that vaccines work, they're also being warned about breakout infections and mask mandates are back in the game.
Doctors are blaming the on-again, off-again messaging on masking from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the "single biggest mistake of the Biden presidency".
On May 13, the CDC lifted its mask wearing guidance for fully vaccinated adults indoors, leaving the whole country on the honour system to figure out who would mask up and who wouldn't.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris removed their masks and the President declared that it's a "great day for America." Meanwhile, the Delta variant seeped in as Americans partied on beaches and in restaurants and music festivals. Within weeks, Covid-19 maps were awash with throbbing red dots to show rising caseloads.
Last week, the CDC did another number on masks, recommending that even vaccinated people again mask up indoors in areas with high transmission rates. This guidance rode on a recent outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts where the Delta variant sickened a majority of vaccinated people and that too with high viral loads.
"To put this in perspective, if you get sick with the Alpha variant, you could infect about two other unvaccinated people. If you get sick with the Delta variant, we estimate that you could infect about five other unvaccinated people -- more than twice as many as the original strain," CDC chief Rochelle Walensky warned in the context of the Massachusetts study.
The daily national caseload is now way beyond the peak of 2020 summer when there were no vaccines.
"They're relying too much on data. That's why they're making so many mistakes," said a Union, New Jersey resident.
"They need to be clear on a few things and stick to that. They shouldn't have removed their masks in May, they end up looking stupid now." When Biden declared a "summer of freedom" just before Independence Day in July, the Delta variant was taking hold as the dominant strain. Barely a month later, Biden is talking in August about how to avoid an "American tragedy".
The next phase of likely chaos, now drawing closer: Fall school reopenings, come September.
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text