Several states report spikes in COVID-19 cases

Across the country, all but two states—Maine and South Dakota—are reporting increasing COVID-19 case counts as the Delta variant (B1617.2) causes a wave of summer activity.

Yesterday, the country reported 41,278 new cases and 825 deaths. The 7-day average of new daily US COVID-19 cases is 25,661, with 19,700 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 330 deaths, according to the New York Times trackerJust 2 weeks ago, the 7-day average of new cases was only 12,600.

Compared with previous case surges, current case activity is defined by communities with high or low vaccination rates. The states that have become the biggest hot spots, neighboring Missouri and Arkansas, have some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates.

In Missouri, the 7-day average of new daily cases is nearly 1,400, up more than 150% from a month ago, according to NPR. In Arkansas, new cases are up 287%.

County health department report that deaths in those states are occurring in unvaccinated residents. In at least 20 counties in southern Missouri, fewer than a 25% of residents are vaccinated.

And health officials in St. Louis County are urging residents to wear masks in indoor public settings and at large outdoor gatherings when distancing is not possible, regardless of their vaccination status, according to Fox News.

Young adults remain vaccine-hesitant

New poll research from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) shows that one in four unvaccinated people aged 18 to 25 said that they "probably will not" or "definitely will not" get the COVID-19 vaccination.

The results, from the March 2021 Household Pulse Survey, included 5,082 respondents. Eighty-three percent reported that they had not been vaccinated, 10% said they definitely will not get the vaccine, and 14% said they probably will not. The results are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health today.

Young adults have been one of the hardest groups to vaccinate in the United States, despite many outreach attempts by the Biden administration. Without this group, herd immunity will likely evade the country.

Though young adults and adolescents rarely die or get seriously ill from COVID-19, they account for roughly 20% of all new cases. And growing evidence suggests this age group can get "long-COVID," or persistent symptoms that follow an initial mild infection.

"Young adults who have had COVID, regardless of symptoms, may be vulnerable to long-term complications and debilitating symptoms that may include respiratory difficulties, loss of smell and brain fog, often referred to as 'long COVID.' Estimates range from 10 to 50 percent for long COVID symptoms, which is a serious concern for young adults given their high infection rates and low vaccination rates," said lead author Sally Adams, PhD, RN, of the UCSF National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center, in a press release.

Other US developments

  • New COVID-19 cases are on the rise in New York City, with cases climbing in every borough, the New York Times reported today. 

  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas yesterday rejected a bid to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 mask requirement for public transportation, CNN reports.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Jul 22 to discuss COVID-19 issues. No agenda has been posted.

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