KEY POINTS

  • The former surgeon general urged unvaccinated people to get the shot
  • Only 49.1% of Americans have been fully vaccinated: CDC
  • At least 56.8% of the country's population has received at least one dose

A former top Trump official has blamed the recent surge of COVID-19 cases on unvaccinated people as the Delta variant spreads across the nation. 

Vice Admiral Dr. Jerome Adams, who previously worked as the surgeon general of the United States under former President Donald Trump, said Sunday that the COVID-19 crisis in the country is “spiraling out of control” because of the unvaccinated population. 

"There's also real harm to you because guess what? More mitigation is coming, whether it's masking or whether it's closures or whether it's your kids having to return to virtual learning, that is coming," Adams said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

“And it's coming because this pandemic is spiraling out of control yet again, and it's spiraling out of control because we don't have enough people vaccinated. So get vaccinated because it helps your neighbors, but get vaccinated because it's going to help every single American enjoy the freedoms that we want to return to,” he added.  

Adams’ recent remarks come a week after he criticized new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask. 

"It doesn't seem to have convinced anyone to get vaccinated,” Adams told NPR’s Morning Edition

As of Sunday, only 49.1% of Americans have been fully vaccinated against the virus and only 56.8% of the country’s total population has received at least one vaccine shot, according to data from the CDC

The more contagious Delta variant is now spreading across the country, causing a surge of COVID-19 cases in 48 states. In at least 34 of those states, health officials have recorded a jump in the rate of new infections by more than 50%, as reported by CNN

Vaccine hesitancy is largely seen in parts of the South, Southwest and Midwest, including Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming — states that health experts warn could become “breeding grounds” for new COVID-19 variants.   

The United States has so far reported a total of 34,443,064 COVID-19 cases and 610,891 coronavirus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

Anti-vaccination protesters gather outside the Houses of Parliament as coronavirus restrictions are lifted in England. But scientists expressed deep concern as infections. Britain will administer vaccines to clinically vulnerable youngsters. Anti-vaccination protesters gather outside the Houses of Parliament as coronavirus restrictions are lifted in England. But scientists expressed deep concern as infections. Britain will administer vaccines to clinically vulnerable youngsters. Photo: AFP / Tolga Akmen