Missouri leads nation in new COVID-19 infections

Older man getting COVID vaccine
Older man getting COVID vaccine

Maryland National Guard / Flickr cc

Missouri now has the highest rate of new COVID-19 infections, due to a combination of rising Delta variant (B1617.2) activity and one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

The Associated Press reports that, unlike most of the country, where 53% of all Americans have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines, some counties in Missouri have vaccination rates well below 40%. Hospital administrators say intensive care unit beds are once again filling, this time with young, unvaccinated adults.

In several states, including Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, the Delta variant is responsible for at least 50% of new cases.

Missouri public health officials warn that their state is a canary in the coal mine, showing what will happen when the Delta variant circulates among the unvaccinated.

Two-thirds in US have at least 1 vaccine dose

The United States reported 12,436 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 375 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows that 378,882,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the country and 319,872,053 doses have been administered, with 150,787,303 Americans fully vaccinated (65.6% of adults have received at least one dose).

In related news, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were in North Carolina today, making the case for vaccination. The Biden administration this week said it was unlikely they would meet their goal of having all US adults with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Jul 4, but the nation has already reached 70% in adults over 30.

Drop in US life expectancy

A new study suggests US life expectancy decreased by 2 years from 2018 to 2020 because the pandemic, the largest drop in the nation since World War II. The decline was seen most sharply in Black (3.3 years) and Hispanic people (3.9 years).

The study takes into account the 600,000 US deaths from COVID-19, as well as disruptions to routine healthcare and services.

And although deaths have dropped dramatically in the country since a peak in January, the US groups most at risk of COVID-19 death are increasingly younger people and Black Americans, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.

Black Americans make up 12.5% of the population but account for 19% of COVID-19 deaths, and adults under 40 now account for 3% of deaths, more than double since when the pandemic began.

Other US developments

  • Iowa is reporting its fewest COVID-19 hospitalizations since March 2020, the Des Moines Register reported yesterday. 

  • San Francisco officials said yesterday they would require all 35,000 city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs, according to the New York Times.

  • New research from Princeton University shows that, across nine major US cities, the neighborhoods with the highest rates of eviction lawsuits are also the areas with the lowest rates of COVID-19 vaccination, CBS News reports.

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