Good news: Vaccination rates are up across America, even in hard to reach 'hesitant' areas
via Pixabay

The rise of COVID-19 infections due to the rampant spread of the Delta variant has cast a shadow over a summer many thought would be a return to normalcy. Last Friday, the U.S. hit 100,000 daily infections, a number we haven't seen since vaccines became readily available.

The good news is that the surge in cases has inspired a lot of vaccine-hesitant people to change their minds.

"This may be a tipping point for those who have been hesitant to say, 'OK, it's time,'" Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN. "I hope that's what's happening. That's what desperately needs to happen if we're going to get this Delta variant put back in its place."


More than 816,000 shots were administered Saturday, making it the third consecutive day that the seven-day average of people getting the shots topped 400,000. The country hasn't hit that metric since the Fourth of July weekend. The country hit its vaccination peak in April when it was averaging 2 million shots a day.

The increases are happening in Southern states that have some of the lowest percentages of vaccinated residents and the highest number of infections.

Louisiana currently has the highest positivity rate per capita and has seen a 114% increase in shots. Arkansas had a 96% increase, Alabama 65%, and Missouri 49%.

Although there have been numerous news stories about the increase in breakthrough infections throughout the country, science shows that it's truly a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

"The media's coverage doesn't match the moment," a senior Biden administration official told The Guardian. "It has been hyperbolic and frankly irresponsible in a way that hardens vaccine hesitancy. The biggest problem we have is unvaccinated people getting and spreading the virus."

"It is really a pandemic among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we're out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated," Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 99.999% of people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death.

Less than 0.004% of fully vaccinated people have had a breakthrough infection requiring hospitalization.

Seventy-four percent of breakthrough infections have occurred among adults 65 and older.

Given the vaccine's incredible success, it's great to see that more people are changing their minds and deciding to get the jab, but we still have a long way to go before we reach herd immunity.

On Sunday, the CDC said that 49.6% of the U.S. population are fully vaccinated and 58.1% of the vaccine-eligible are fully vaccinated.

At the onset of the virus, medical experts believed that the country would have to hit a 60 to 70% vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity. However, Yale Medicine says that given the increase in variants, the county may have to have a vaccination rate of up to 85% before it will reach herd immunity.

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

Keep Reading Show less