“Almost is almost a race between vaccinating people and this growth that seems to want to increase,” Fauci said, noting that Europe is experiencing a peak as U.S. experts worry.
The US is vaccinating people fast, with just over 33% of the population – more than 109 million people – receiving at least one dose of the vaccine and all 50 states have pledged to open vaccines to all adults by on 19 April.
But the rate of vaccination in the arms of Americans will have to continue to rise now that the variant of the virus first identified in the UK, known to be more contagious and believed to be more deadly, is the most common in the US, Walensky said.
To combat the variant, Fauci called on Americans to be vaccinated and adhere to preventative measures.
“Stay there a little longer,” he said. “Now is not the time, as I have said so many times, to declare victory prematurely.”
Cases tend to be younger
Recent infections have been leaning towards the young, a factor that Fauci said could be attributed in part to so many older people being vaccinated.
Fauci noted that more than 75% of people aged 65 and over have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine in the US
He said a number of factors are at play, including case groups in daycare and school sports teams – in which people are in close contact and sometimes do not wear masks – and variant B.1.1.7.
“I think this is what is explaining these increases in cases in young individuals,” he said.
As case trends toward American youth, many schools are expanding the opportunity for full-on-person learning. About three-quarters of U.S. public schools are open to full-time personal or hybrid tuition.
Of the 4th graders in the country, 39% are attending school full time and 29% of 8th graders, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Education’s National Educational Progress Assessment ( NAEP).
Those students who return to school are not yet eligible for vaccines, although studies hopefully will show the effectiveness of vaccinations in six-month-olds in the coming months, Fauci said.
Until then, students under the age of 16 should continue to wear masks, avoiding close contact and avoiding indoor environments, Fauci said.
Risks and benefits of the vaccine
As the U.S. race to vaccinate people, experts and officials are battling side effects that are believed to be linked to several shootings.
Operations were halted at Dick Goods Sports Park in Colorado on Wednesday after health officials reported that 11 people who received their vaccines became ill.
Those patients experienced symptoms like nausea and dizziness and were transported to a local hospital for observation out of a plethora of care, according to a press release from the Colorado State Joint Information Center.
Although the cases may sound disturbing, state officials said they have no reason to believe the vaccinated people at the center should be concerned.
“The state has no reason to believe that people who were vaccinated today at Dick Sporting Goods Park should be concerned,” state officials said.
“As far as we know, today’s side effects were in line with what can be expected,” Scott Bookman, COVID-19 Incident Commander, said in a press release. “Getting a vaccine is much safer than getting seriously ill with COVID-19.”
CNN’s Amanda Sealy, Ben Tinker, Lauren Mascarenhas, Betsy Klein, Elizabeth Stuart, Joe Sutton, Richard Greene and Schams Elwazer contributed to this report.
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