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US Hits 70% Vaccination Rate -- a Month Late, Amid a Surge

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The U.S. finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot in the arms of 70% of American adults. But it’s a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country. Biden set a goal of reaching the 70% threshold by the Fourth of July. But that target was set well before the highly contagious delta variant enabled the virus to come storming back and undermined the assumptions that were used to arrive at that figure. The U.S. still has not hit the administration’s other goal of fully vaccinating 165 million American adults by July 4. It is about 8.5 million short.

Local cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, with what health officials are calling a significant increase in the last two weeks. Elizabeth Larkins is the Executive Director of Medical Nursing in the Northeast Georgia Health System. She says frontline workers still suffering from the effects of treating the disease for the past year and a half.

“Our nurses, our physicians, respiratory therapists, our staff that are in support roles, are still recovering from the mental and emotional strain of the past 18 months,” Larkins said. “

Many of them tell me, they don’t know if they can take another surge.

One cause of the heavy workload is a major shortage of necessary personnel. 

“We’re looking for about 550 RNs that we don’t have right now, it’s significant.”

There have been 254 confirmed cases in Clarke County in the last two weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.”

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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