Senate holds COVID hearing as Delta variant cases spike

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – The Delta variant now accounts for more than 83% of new COVID-19 cases. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made that statement during her testimony before a Senate committee earlier Tuesday.

Dr. Walensky said, “We continue to recommend that schools implement layered prevention strategies to protect those who are not fully vaccinated and encourage vaccination for those who are eligible. Masks continue to be a critical part of these layered prevention strategies.”

She was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the Acting Commissioner of the FDA, and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response for the Department of Health and Human Services Dawn O’Connell.

Dr. Fauci spoke about so-called “breakthrough infections” in people who are already vaccinated. He said, “The original data from the clinical trial, the efficacy data was based on preventing clinically apparent disease, not preventing infection such as asymptomatic infection. When you hear about a breakthrough infection, that doesn’t necessarily mean the vaccine is failing, because it’s still holding true, particularly with regard to protection against severe disease leading to hospitalization and deaths.”

The hearing came as new cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise across the country.

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