Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

COVID cases are down but so are vaccinations, leading to fears of another surge

Signs read "stay safe" on a window.
Coronavirus safety posters are displayed in the window of the Sondheim Theatre on June 14 in London.
Rob Pinney | Getty Images

Summer is in full swing in Minnesota. COVID-19 case numbers have reached all-time lows. More than 60 percent of Minnesotans 16 and up are fully vaccinated. And just a handful of patients with COVID-19 are being admitted to the hospital each day.

But public health officials aren’t quite ready to relax. Vaccination rates have stalled. At the current rate, it will be mid-August before Minnesota reaches the milestone of getting at least one shot into 70 percent of adults 16 and older. In some states, herd immunity may never be reached. Vaccination rates in the South hover in the 30 percent range. Medical officials in Missouri say vaccine hesitancy is leading to a spike in new hospitalizations.

Officials are also alarmed by the rapid spread of the new delta variant, which is the most contagious version of the virus to date. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, says it’s likely the new strain will become dominant in the United States within weeks.

Is a new surge inevitable? How big of a threat is the delta variant? Monday at 9 a.m., host Kerri Miller talked with two medical experts about the latest research.


  • Lindsey Leininger is a public health educator at “Dear Pandemic” and a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

  • Dr. Marty Makary is a surgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the author of “The Price We Pay.” 

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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