“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” she said.
While she signaled that fully vaccinated people should feel free to travel if they wear masks, she said they too should exercise caution and think carefully before opting to travel amid the Delta-variant surge. “Given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take their own — these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling,” Walensky said.
President Biden, Walensky, and other government health experts have directed blame at those who have abstained from receiving the shot for the prolonged COVID crisis, repeatedly calling it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
While thousands more Americans get vaccinated every day, with 61.9 percent of the entire population now having had at least one dose, 38.5 percent of people age twelve and up are not yet vaccinated, according to data from the CDC.
Walenksy noted that the current seven-day average for new COVID cases in the U.S. is 129,418 cases per day, a drop of 10 percent from the previous week’s seven-day average. The hospitalization rate is still high, especially in states such as Florida and Mississippi, but has also decreased slightly since last week, she said, referring to CDC data. Meanwhile, the number of deaths resulting from COVID infection increased by 2.3 percent over the past week, she said.
The CDC director urged Americans to be diligent about wearing masks indoors in public settings even if vaccinated to curb the spread of the disease over the long weekend.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen that the vast majority of transmission takes place among unvaccinated people in closed indoor settings,” Walensky said. “Masks are not forever, but they are for now.”