variant delta covid
Naomi Frazier, a nurse with DHEC, draws vaccinations at a mass vaccination site set up by FEMA at the Columbia Place Mall. The site will provide about 1,000 vaccines daily. 4/13/21 TRACY GLANTZ TGLANTZ@THESTATE.COM
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“It’s almost like it’s going to be two Americas,” Dr. Fauci said in a dire warning to officials at the end of June. 

Fauci, the White House’s Chief Medical Advisor, warned that under-vaccinated regions are likely to see significant spikes in COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant rips through the country.

Delta variant driving up cases and hospitalizations for younger Oklahomans

Oklahoma remains one of the least vaccinated states in the country, with less than 40% of the population fully vaccinated. In the last four weeks, rates of new cases have more than doubled. Data from the Mayo Clinic suggests they will double again by July 22nd. 

“The variant spreads really fast and is able to reach more people really quickly,” Dr. Cameron Webb, the White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID said in an interview with The Black Wall Street Times.  Webb said that data is showing “an ever-growing percentage of younger individuals” are becoming severely ill and in need of hospitalization. 

In Oklahoma and across the country, nearly all those hospitalized or dying after contracting the virus are now unvaccinated individuals.

Dr. Webb said it was important to “normalize” that it’s okay for people to be hesitant to get the shot.

“Resistance to the vaccine is completely reasonable because it’s new, it’s different and this has been such a scary experience,” Webb said. 

“It’s important that we keep driving home public health messaging,” he continued when asked how to alleviate that hesitancy.  “If you’re vaccinated, you’re protected – you’re safe.”

Community-led effort kicks off nationwide to increase vaccination rates

President Biden recently announced a door-to-door campaign to encourage individuals in high-risk communities to get the vaccine.  While some conservatives have misconstrued facts to turn this life-saving effort into a political talking point, Webb was clear in addressing the program’s parameters.

“This is a neighbor-to-neighbor effort,” Webb said. “This will be groups from the community, in the community, doing the work to end this pandemic.”

The White House’s initiative will support organizations already on the ground in cities and towns across the country.  Non-profits, schools, churches and other groups will take the lead in reaching out to friends, family and neighbors to enhance vaccination outreach.

Oklahoma has recorded more than 8600 deaths from COVID-19 since March of 2020. This staggering number represents more than one in every 500 people who call the state home.

The vaccine does not fully prevent people from contracting the virus, but it is nearly 100% effective at preventing serious illness and death.

While many states and cities have ended mask mandates, Dr. Webb urged unvaccinated individuals to follow CDC guidelines by wearing face coverings and socially distancing in public.

To find and schedule an appointment to get the vaccine, visit

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...

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