France and the United States facing fourth COVID waves

France’s health minister Olivier Veran has urged as many French people as possible to have a COVID-19 vaccine, warning that France could be heading for a fourth wave of the epidemic by the end of the month due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.

“For five days, (the infection rate) hasn’t come down – it’s rising again. Because of the Delta variant, which is very contagious. The British example shows that a fourth wave is possible from the end of July,” Veran said on Twitter.

“We must move even faster (on vaccination). Our country is in a race against time.”

His warning comes as respected authority Anthony Fauci has predicted that the US will soon see surges in cases of the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 in areas where vaccination rates are low, calling resistance to vaccination “sad” and “tragic”.

Such resistance is particularly strong among Republicans: a Washington Post-ABC News poll recently found that 86% of Democrats but only 45% of Republicans have received at least one shot.

The same poll found that a third of adults who had not had a shot said they would not or probably would not get one. Of those respondents, nearly three-quarters said officials like Fauci were exaggerating the risk posed by the Delta variant. A little more than three-quarters believed they had little or no risk of contracting Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to tout the success of its vaccination campaign, with 66.8% of US adults and 54.6% of all Americans having received at least one dose by 1 July.

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