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Dr. Leana Wen On New Variants, New Infections, Vaccines & Kids

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Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, health columnist for The Washington Post and professor of public health policy at GW University. (Milken SPH)

“This year, the Fourth of July is a day of special celebration, for we are emerging from the darkness of a year of pandemic and isolation, a year of pain, fear and heartbreaking loss. Just think back to where this nation was a year ago, think back to where YOU were a year ago, and think about how far we've come.”
President Joe Biden, speaking at the White House on Sunday, July 4.

Maryland is one of only 20 states to reach President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by last weekend. Nationally, fewer than half of Americans have been inoculated. And states where vaccination rates are lower are experiencing a surge in cases, as the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus takes hold and continues to infect unvaccinated people.

Data from Johns Hopkins shows that the Delta variant, a mutant strain of COVID-19 that is twice as transmissible as the original virus, has led to almost three times as many new COVID cases in states where vaccination rates are low.

Is it time to start requiring people to be inoculated against SARS CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19?

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TMAXIMUMGE/PUBLIC DOMAIN
An artist's rendering of SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (CDC)

Today, Tom welcomes back Dr. Leana Wen for the Midday Healthwatch. Dr. Wen is an emergency physician and former Baltimore City Health Commissioner. She teaches at the George Washington University School of Public Health. She’s also a columnist for the Washington Post, a medical analyst for CNN, and the author of the forthcoming book, Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health.

Dr. Leana Wen joins us on Skype…and we'll be taking your questions and comments…