WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Unvaccinated Americans should stay home during the holiday weekend as COVID-19 cases surge due to the highly contagious delta variant, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
"First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., said during a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing, CNN reported.
Fully vaccinated people can travel with precautions, but high transmission rates mean they also need to take infection risk into consideration when thinking about whether to hit the road, Walensky added. The United States is averaging more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, Johns Hopkins University data show, and hospitals are stretched thin due to large numbers of COVID-19 patients, CNN reported.
Vaccination is the best way to control the spread of COVID-19, according to health experts, and many have said the spike in COVID-19 cases is driven by the many Americans who remain unvaccinated. Among those who are eligible for vaccinations, 38.6 percent are not fully vaccinated, and the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is 16 times higher in unvaccinated people than in those who have been vaccinated, CNN reported.
As a cautionary tale, a new case study published Tuesday illustrated what large group gatherings can do to unvaccinated people, CNN reported. In June, attendees met for a five-day overnight church camp and a two-day men's conference in Illinois, neither of which required vaccination, testing, or masks. By August, 180 COVID-19 cases were connected to the gatherings, including five hospitalizations, according to the investigation from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health, CNN reported.