The COVID-19 outbreak in the United States exceeded 100,000 newly confirmed daily infections, the last milestone passed during the winter surge, driven by the highly contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates in the South.
Health officials worry that if more Americans do not get vaccinated, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths will rise. Across the country, 50% of residents have been fully vaccinated, and more than 70% of adults have received at least one dose.
“Our models show that if we don’t (vaccinate people), we could be up to several hundred thousand cases a day, similar to our surge in early January,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said on CNN this week.
It took about 9 months for the United States to exceed the average daily number of cases of 100,000 in November and then reached a peak of approximately 250,000 in early January. The number of cases bottomed out in June, with an average of about 11,000 cases per day, but after six weeks, the number was 107,143.
The number of hospitalizations and deaths is also rising, although still below the peak before the vaccine was widely available earlier this year. According to CDC data, more than 44,000 Americans are hospitalized due to COVID-19, an increase of 30% within a week, nearly four times the number in June. More than 120,000 people were hospitalized in January.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the average 7-day death toll has risen from approximately 270 per day two weeks ago to nearly 500 per day on Friday. In January, the death toll reached a peak of 3,500 per day. Death usually lags behind hospitalization because the disease usually takes several weeks to die on its own.
The situation is challenging in the South, where vaccination rates are among the lowest in the United States, and small hospitals are crowded with patients.
“Sixty-five thousand doses have been wasted. That’s extremely unfortunate when we have such a low vaccination rate, and of course, there are so many people in the world that still don’t have access to the vaccine,” Harris said.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, while supporting vaccinations, has taken a hard line against mask rules and other limitations. Running for reelection next year and eyeing a 2024 Republican presidential bid, he and President Joe Biden have verbally disagreed in recent days. DeSantis has accused the Democratic president of overreach, while Biden has said DeSantis should “get out of the way” of local officials if he wants to fight the outbreak.
Source: Wheeling Intelligencer