Joe Biden’s administration is working on plans to open borders to travelers, said White House COVID-19 team coordinator Jeffrey Zients. He added that although a final decision on the matter has not yet been made – it may require visitors to show proof of vaccination. The decision to apply an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a wider group of people is also on hold.
– The administration certainly recognizes the importance of international passenger traffic. While we are maintaining the current restrictions at the moment, inter-ministerial teams are working on plans in time for us to lift them, said White House COVID-19 team coordinator Jeffrey Zients. He added that introducing a vaccination requirement against COVID-19 is one option, although the final decision on this has not yet been made.
During the conference, the US President’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced that the administration wants to make it possible for people with reduced immunity to receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “It is already clear from the available observational data that immunocompromised individuals do not produce a sufficient response (immune system) to adequately protect them,” said Fauci.
The epidemic situation in the USA
However, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky noted that it was too early to decide on an additional dose for a wider group of people. She added that her agency would be guided by scientific evidence.
During Thursday’s briefing, the White House pointed out that the new wave of the Delta pandemic passing through the United States is most pronounced in states with the lowest vaccination rates. The seven least vaccinated states – all located in the south of the country – accounted for half of all new COVID-19 cases, Zients reported. Only Florida and Texas are responsible for about 1/3 of infections.
In some of these states, hospitals are facing a shortage of places and staff due to the new wave. In the case of Florida, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is now at its highest since the start of the pandemic. Walensky noted that the numbers invariably indicate that the overwhelming majority of inpatients are unvaccinated.
Main photo source: CAROLINE BREHMAN / PAP / EPA