NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Daily coronavirus cases are rising again across most of the U.S.

Over the past week, new cases are up by 66%, and Infection rates are rising in more than three dozen states.

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CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez helps us understand why this is happening, whether it’s due to delta variant, and whether we may need boosters soon.

Confusion seems to the word of the day when it comes to the COVID pandemic in the U.S.

Much of the confusion both stems from and leads to this disturbing statistic: Less than half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, even though we have more than enough vaccine to immunize the entire country. Enough, in fact, that we are giving away millions of doses to countries that need them.

In an interview on CBS This Morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci was direct in explaining our COVID situation, beginning with the delta variant of the coronavirus. Delta does in fact transmit more readily than other strains.

“The vaccines that we have available, that we are administering throughout the country, do very well. The delta varies, particularly protecting against severe disease leading to hospitalization,” Fauci said.

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COVID VACCINE

That point is driven by the fact that more than 99% of all the people dying of COVID in this country were unvaccinated. Present vaccines may not provide as much total protection against delta as against other strains, but it will prevent serious disease, hospitalizations and death.

Much has also been made about the potential need for a vaccine booster, with Pfizer announcing that it will apply to the FDA for booster authorization, while neither the FDA nor the CDC say a booster is yet called for.

Here’s how Dr. Fauci described the difference.

“You’re talking about the difference between an organization whose responsibility is to make an official recommendation based on data and a pharmaceutical company, as good as they are, who look at their product and say, ‘hey, you know, we really think you need to get a booster shot,'” he said.

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In other words, Pfizer is preparing for the possibility of a future booster need. Federal health authorities are saying we should focus on getting the present vaccines into arms now, because that’s what will provide the most immediate protection.

Dr. Max Gomez