Alabama Governor Kay Ivey called out Americans who have refused to get vaccinated against coronavirus as her state and others across the South are hammered by new infections – with three states in the region now accounting for 40 percent of active cases nationwide.
‘Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,’ Ivey, a conservative Republican, told reporters today.
Now weeks removed from the July 4th holiday, which medical professionals feared would cause a spike in coronavirus cases among the unvaccinated, the fourth wave of COVID has arrived, driven primarily by the highly-contagious Delta variant.
The vast majority of new cases have been reported in people who are not vaccinated, sparking surges in states with low vaccination rates.
Missouri, Florida and Texas now account for 40 percent of current cases nationwide, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday.
He noted that those three have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with 41.4 percent, 48 percent and 43 percent of residents fully-vaccinated, respectively.
‘For the second week in a row, one in five of all cases occurring in Florida alone. And within communities, these cases are primarily among unvaccinated people,’ he said.
In Ivey’s state of Alabama – where only 42 percent of residents are fully vaccinated – daily new cases have increased by 312 percent over the past two weeks, from 275 on July 8 to 1,133 on July 22.
Zients noted, however, that several states with the highest proportion of new infections – including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada – are now finally beginning to see their vaccination rates rise faster than the nation as a whole – a sign that the threat of the fourth wave is finally hitting home.
In the past week more than two million Americans received their first dose of a vaccine – a 14 percent increase from the week prior.
Florida in particular accounts for nearly 20 percent of active cases.
The state recorded 12,647 new cases on Wednesday, the highest total the state has recorded since the massive winter wave of the virus.
Cases in the state have grown by nearly 500 percent in the past two weeks, with a seven day average of 1,493 new cases on July 6, and 8,912 on July 20.
A majority of the cases are among the unvaccinated as well.
‘If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals … over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all,’ Governor Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
‘These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.’
While DeSantis is a supporter of the vaccines, he has previously opposed vaccine mandates, even banning the use of vaccine passport in his state.
Florida has the most vaccinated population of any state in the south, though, with 56 percent of residents having received at least one shot of the virus.
The Indian Delta variant, a highly contagious strain of the virus that originated in the south Asian nation, accounts for more than 80 percent of active cases in the state as well.