Coronavirus infections are on the rise in the United States, driven by delta variants, and may put pressure on hospitals in areas with low vaccination rates. In the past week, the 7-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased by 69%, reaching 26,306 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll increased by 26% to 211, and the number of hospitalizations increased by 36% to 2,794.
The number of daily cases in most states has increased at least slightly. The Washington reviewer’s analysis of CDC data found that as of July 14, there were only 10 states (Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, There was no increase in cases in South Dakota and Vermont between 7th and 14th July.
It is believed that the delta variant that originated in India is driving the current wave. According to British research, it is more than twice as infectious as the mother virus. The CDC reports that as of early July, delta variants accounted for 58% of new COVID-19 cases. Almost all recent cases have occurred in people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“There is a simple public message: Get vaccinated or get COVID,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director at the American Public Health Association.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Friday.
The Associated Press analysis of CDC data found that more than 98% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States in May and more than 99% of deaths were not vaccinated. Of the 12 states where 40% or less of the population is vaccinated, eight states have seen a daily increase of 48% or more in the past week. In two states, Alabama and Georgia, cases have doubled during this time. Many of these states are located in the South and Midwest, and Benjamin said these states pose additional risks due to potential poor health.
“Many of the low vaccinated states have poorer health outcomes — high incidences of diseases like heart disease and diabetes,” he said.
People with pre-existing health conditions are more likely to be hospitalized and die of COVID-19. Susan Hassig, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, said that she believes that the current increase in cases will not disappear. As severe as the wave experienced by the United States last summer. But he warned that since only more than 50% of the population is not fully vaccinated, the number of cases could increase significantly.
“Where people are unvaccinated, even if only a small percentage of them get infected, that will still be a lot of people,” Hassig said.
Some hospitals are already feeling the pressure. In Springfield, Missouri, health officials have submitted an application for funding to the state government to establish an alternative care center for COVID-19 patients. Officials said in a statement: “increase in severe illness is projected to outpace hospital capacity.” About 231 people at Springfield Regional Hospital are receiving COVID-19 treatment.
According to the New York Times, a total of 1,357 people in Missouri were hospitalized due to COVID-19, an increase of 44% in the past two weeks. Missouri records an average of 1,779 COVID-19 cases per day, a 60% increase from the previous week. Arkansas has the third highest vaccination rate in the country, with only about 35% of residents fully vaccinated.
The Arkansas hospital has 669 COVID-19 patients, of which 119 are wearing respirators, which is the highest level since February. At least two hospitals in the state, Mercy Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, report that their COVID-19 units are fully operational.