CNN  — 

The Delta coronavirus variant, which is highly transmissible and possibly more dangerous than current predominant variants, now makes up more than 20% of all samples sequenced in the United States after the percentage doubled in a recent two-week period, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

The country seems to be following a pattern seen in the United Kingdom, both with a variant first seen there – the B.1.1.7 Alpha – and now with the Delta variant, said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“As was the case with B.1.1.7, we seem to be following the pattern with the Delta variant, with a doubling time of about two weeks,” Fauci said Tuesday at a White House Covid-19 Task Force briefing.

Some labs genetically sequence samples of the virus taken from patients to find out which variant is involved, and these test results are reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Offering some good news, Fauci said the mRNA vaccines, which are made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, appear to hold up against the Delta variant.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in the Delta variant two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine, he said.

“When you look at hospitalizations, again, both the Pfizer BioNTech and the Oxford AstraZeneca are between 92 and 96% effective against hospitalizations,” Fauci said.

The challenge, though, is getting more people to take the vaccines.

Almost all Covid deaths are preventable, experts say

With vaccines widely available, almost every Covid-19 death is preventable, Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC said at the White House briefing.

“Covid-19 vaccines are available for everyone ages 12 and up,” Walensky said. “They are nearly 100% effective against severe disease and death – meaning nearly every death due to Covid-19 is particularly tragic, because nearly every death, especially among adults, due to Covid-19 is at this point entirely preventable.”

Fauci said it’s “overwhelmingly” the case that those now dying of the disease are almost entirely not vaccinated.

“Every death from Covid-19 is avoidable, and it’s a tragedy when it happens,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Young people and some states putting drag on vaccination rate, Fauci said

The country may not reach President Joe Biden’s goal of getting 70% of American adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4 because young people aren’t rushing to be vaccinated and some states are lagging, Fauci said.

Even Vermont, where more than 81% of eligible people have started the vaccination process, is having a hard time getting young adults to get the shots.

“They’re a tough nut to crack,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine told CNN, but not because they are against being vaccinated.

“Most of them are not a truly vaccine-resistant group,” Levine said. “They don’t have that strong polarized view. They’re mostly in the category where it’s just not at the top of their list right now.”

But some state vaccination rates and efforts are lagging, and that’s also dragging down the country’s overall rate, Fauci said.

“It’s a combination of some states and regions that are below where we need them to be,” Fauci told Tapper on Tuesday. “Within that context, it’s younger people – particularly 18 to 26 – where you really want to try and get them to get vaccinated.”

In four states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming – fewer than 50% of adults have gotten at least one dose, according to CDC data.

The issue “goes beyond the young people in some states, in some regions, ” Fauci said.

Although the country is getting close, with 65.5% of adults having received at least one dose, demand and vaccination rates have declined, leaving experts to worry if enough of the population will be vaccinated in time to curb fall and winter surges.

Fauci said he thinks Biden’s goal will be reached by mid-July.

“You set a goal. If you reach it, great. If you don’t, you keep going to try and reach it and go beyond it,” he said.

No ‘Hail Mary pass’ in sight