The White House is deploying Covid-19 response teams across the United States focused on combatting the highly contagious delta variant, the Biden administration announced Thursday.
The teams, comprised of officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies, will work with communities at higher risk of outbreaks and will focus on increasing the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations, White House Covid czar Jeff Zients said during a White House news briefing.
The teams will also increase testing to expand detection of the virus, facilitate contact tracing and provide therapeutics to help treat those who become infected, he said.
There are 1,000 counties in the U.S. that have vaccination coverage of less than 30%, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the briefing. These counties, primarily in the South and Midwest, are the most vulnerable to the variant, she said.
“To be clear, the federal government stands ready to meet the moment and work with our state partners to respond to the delta variant,” Zients said.
“As we continue to work with communities across the country to get more shots in arms, we will also be working with governors and state and local health authorities to identify and address the needs on the ground in places with emergency outbreaks,” he elaborated.