New COVID cases are up 145% in the U.S.; see the states where cases are rising the fastest
For months, pandemic America saw nothing but progress, with COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths plummeting with a vaccination effort — 343 million shots and counting — that has reached more than 189 million Americans. But, alas, what looked like light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, has proven more like a mirage thanks to the Delta variant, the highly transmissible strain of the virus that, in a few weeks time, has sent new cases surging in every state across the country, according to a Fortune analysis of New York Times data.
As of Tuesday, July 27, the average number of new cases reported daily over the past week was 63,248, similar to levels seen last summer, and up 145% from two weeks ago. In Louisiana and Rhode Island, the average number of new cases per day is up by 300% for that period; in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee, they’re up by more than 200%.
The situation is most worrisome in areas with lower vaccination rates, as unvaccinated individuals are especially vulnerable to the virus, and far more likely to become severely ill from COVID if infected. States with the lowest vaccination rates include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Wyoming, all of which have less than 40% of their populations fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Delta variant has added urgency to this picture. “It’s definitely true that the Delta variant is the most heavily represented in most if not all of our hospitals,” said Cameron Wolfe, an infectious disease specialist at Duke Health and associate professor at the Duke University Medical Center, in a virtual press conference on Wednesday. “It’s more infectious. You get sick a little quicker. And frankly there’s a severity that comes with this variant that is a little more severe. It makes you more sick.” He added he expects hospitalizations due to COVID to continue to increase over the next couple weeks.
States with the highest percent of their populations fully vaccinated include Vermont (67.4%) and Massachusetts (63.7%) among others in New England.
Though the vaccination rate had slowed considerably across the country in recent months — the nation still has yet to reach President Biden’s July 4 goal that 70% of adults have at least one vaccine (the rate is currently 69.3%) —the number of shots administered daily has started to increase again, perhaps in response to even more emphatic calls for people to get vaccinated and rising concerns about the Delta variant. Newly issued mandates and incentives will also likely help push the rate upwards in coming days and weeks.
14-day increase in the number of new cases
|District of Columbia||179.8%|
Based on 7-day moving average. Source: New York Times
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