COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising throughout the country as the Indian ‘Delta’ variant continues to spread.
On Thursday, the U.S. recorded 28,412 new cases with a seven-day rolling average of 26,079, a 135 percent increase from the 11,067 average recorded two weeks ago.
Nearly every state and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week.
What’s more, about 40 states have seen their infection rates increase by at least 50 percent with some of the biggest rises seen in hotspots such as Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during today’s White House Covid-19 briefing.
“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk,” Walensky said. Meantime, “communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.”
The White House also said today that Florida has accounted for one in five cases of COVID-19 this week.
Officials blame a mix of low vaccination rates and the spread of the Delta variant, which now makes up about 60 percent of all new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With cases doubling every two weeks, this means the U.S. could see 50,000 cases per day by the end of July and 100,000 per day at the end of the month.
Even with deaths being a lagging indicator, fatalities are unlikely to rise by as much or a quickly due to vaccinations.
It comes as CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is becoming ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated.’
She said that the majority of coronavirus cases, hospitalization and deaths are now occurring among people who haven’t gotten two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 83 percent from 1,029 per day to 1,892 per day in the last two weeks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with 46 percent of residents having received received at least one dose, and 40 percent fully vaccinated.
Comparatively, 55.8 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 48.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently admitted that the federal health agency is more concerned about Missouri than any other state
‘When I look at the map Missouri actually jumps out as the place that I’m most worried about because there’s a lot of cases now happening very rapidly,’ he told McClatchy.
‘The chances of getting infected in Missouri are getting really high and that means potentially serious illness or even death.’
The outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant, which makes up more than 97 percent of cases in the state, especially spreading like wildfire in the southwest.