US COVID-19 cases jump amid increased Delta activity

Vaccinator holding up syringe
Vaccinator holding up syringe

US Air National Guard, Sarah M. McClanahan / Flickr cc

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said today that America has two current truths to face concerning its ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"On one hand, we have seen successes with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths," she said during a White House press briefing. "On the other…we are now starting to see new and concerning trends in cases."

In the past week, the 7-day average of new daily cases jumped 11%, and hospitalizations increased 7%, with daily averages settling around 13,900 new cases per day, and 2,000  new hospital admissions per day, Walensky said.

Walensky said with the Delta variant now the dominant strain in the country, it's more important than ever to get vaccinated. While the variant accounts for 51% of cases nationwide, in some parts of the Midwest and Upper Mountain states, CDC data shows Delta accounts for 80% of cases.

Moreover, in most of 173 counties in the United States with case rates greater than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days, vaccination rates are 40% or under, she said.

The United States reported 22,931 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 312 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

All 3 vaccines show protection against Delta

In past month, 99.5% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in unvaccinated people, Walensky said, meaning nearly all COVID-19 deaths are now preventable. And new modeling from the Commonwealth Fund suggests the US vaccination program has so far saved an estimated 279,000 lives and averted 1.25 million hospitalizations.

Anthony Fauci, MD, the chief medical adviser to the Biden Administration, shared data from various preprints and medical journals which showed direct and indirect evidence that the three vaccines currently used in the United States are protective against Delta infections to varying degrees, with all offering strong protection against hospitalization.

"The only conclusion one could make is get vaccinated," said Fauci. "It will protect you against the surging Delta variant."

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 383,068,740 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 331,651,464 have been administered, with 157,908,171 Americans fully vaccinated (67.2% of adults have at least one dose).

But vaccine refusal and hesitancy remains a barrier in hot spots. Yesterday leaders from four of Utah's leading hospital systems held a news conference to urge people to get vaccinated, the Salt Lake Tribune reports, in light of hospitalization numbers jumping to January levels in the past 2 weeks.

Other US developments

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said yesterday it will require its 1,100 employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of August, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports

  • New York City held a ticker-tape parade yesterday for thousands of healthcare and frontline workers, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. 

  • The California State Capitol in Sacramento has tightened its mask mandate after nine COVID-19 cases were detected, including four cases in people who have been fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.

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