Amid rising instances, the C.D.C. director warns the U.S. is at “one other pivotal level” within the pandemic.

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The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday struck a new tone of urgency regarding the coronavirus pandemic, warning that the United States is “not out of the woods yet” and is once again at “another turning point in this one Pandemic “are” as the highly contagious Delta variant rips through communities with low vaccination rates.

The director’s warning, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, during a briefing by members of the White House’s Covid-19 Response Team, was a marked shift from a few weeks ago when President Biden held a big July 4th party on the South Lawn of hosted the White House to declare independence from the virus.

It reflects growing concern among administrators that what appears to be progress is being undone – and that the current surge in cases will overwhelm health systems in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low and hospital admissions are high. Still, new cases, hospital admissions and deaths remain at a fraction of their previous devastating highs. Vaccines remain effective against the worst effects of Covid-19, including the Delta variant.

Dr. Walensky pleaded with unvaccinated people to “please take the Delta variant seriously,” adding, “This virus has no incentive to wear off and it remains on the lookout for the next person at risk to infect it. Please remember to get vaccinated and take precautionary measures until then.

White House officials also announced Thursday that they will be spending $ 1.6 billion, approved by Congress under the US rescue plan, on testing and other measures to contain high-risk gatherings, including homeless shelters and prisons . And they said they would send $ 100 million to rural health clinics to support vaccination education and outreach in these communities where vaccination rates are generally low.