Just as the threat from COVID seems to be fading in the U.S., President Biden and federal officials this week are sounding urgent alarms over a new variant.
"This is a more virulent strain. This is like COVID on steroids," former White House adviser Andy Slavitt warned in an interview on CNN.
The CDC warns Delta will likely become the new dominant strain in the US. The highly contagious strain already makes up virtually every new confirmed case in the U.K. and it's hitting young, unvaccinated people the hardest. Hospitalizations in the U.K. are peaking among 12-to-20-year-olds.
"We'll get advice from clinicians on the vaccination of children in the next couple of weeks. We'll look at that very carefully. But from now, since all adults can get the jab, that's what we need," U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Hospitals in areas of the U.S. with low vaccination rates are already seeing a surge in new cases, mostly delta. The CDC says Missouri is seeing the biggest surge right now, where Delta accounts for about 7% of new cases.
Experts warn southern states could see outbreaks going into the fall.
"We'll see these in amusement parks and and we'll see them in churches and we'll see them at weddings. We'll see them in places where people are not vaccinated," Slavitt said.
President Biden announced the U.S. has reached 300 million shots in 150 days but urged Americans to get fully vaccinated in light of the threat of Delta.
"So please, please, if you have one shot, get the second shot as soon as you can," President Biden said during remarks at the White House.