More Americans should get vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 or the country could see harsh measures imposed this fall, the top Republican in Congress said Wednesday.
“It never occurred to me after three highly effective vaccines were developed in under a year that we’d have difficulty getting Americans to take the shots. But that’s obviously where we are,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
“I want to underscore in the strongest possible manner I can, and I say this with some authority, as you all know, as a result of being a polio victim myself and being very aware that it took seven decades to come up with two effective polio vaccines. This was done in under one year. These shots need to get in everybody’s arm as rapidly as possible or we’re going be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” he added.
Many governors in 2020 imposed harsh measures, closing schools to in-person instruction and shutting down businesses. The result was widespread unemployment and a rise in health issues such as drug abuse. Some experts said the lockdowns helped slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
President Joe Biden would support states reimposing lockdowns, the White House said earlier this month.
McConnell cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic in claiming 97 percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
The figure was put forth last week by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the agency, in a virtual briefing.
She did not say how the agency reached the conclusion.
In a previous briefing this month, Walensky said, “preliminary data from a collection of states over the last six months” suggested that 99.5 percent of deaths from COVID-19 in those states were among unvaccinated people.