In six weeks, we've gone from 11,000 COVID-19 cases per day to 110,000, and there appears to be no end in sight as to how bad things will get for the unvaccinated and unmasked.
The U.S. is now averaging 100,000 new COVID-19 infections a day, returning to a milestone last seen during the winter surge in another bleak reminder of how quickly the delta variant has spread through the country.
Health officials fear that cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to soar if more Americans don’t embrace the COVID-19 vaccine. Nationwide, 50% of residents are fully vaccinated and more than 70% of adults have received at least one dose.
“Our models show that if we don’t (vaccinate people), we could be up to several hundred thousand cases a day, similar to our surge in early January,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said on CNN this week.
It took the U.S. about nine months to cross the 100,000 average case number in November before peaking at about 250,000 in early January. Cases bottomed out in June, averaging about 11,000 per day, but six weeks later the number is 107,143.
Hospitalizations and deaths are also increasing rapidly, though all are still below peaks seen early this year before vaccines became widely available. More than 44,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the CDC, up 30% in a week and nearly four times the number who were hospitalized in June. More than 120,000 were hospitalized in January.
The seven-day average for deaths also increased, according to Johns Hopkins University. It rose from about 270 deaths per day two weeks ago to nearly 500 a day as of Friday. Deaths peaked at 3,500 per day in January. Deaths usually lag behind hospitalizations as the disease normally takes a few weeks to kill.
The situation is particularly dire in the South, which has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S. and has seen smaller hospitals overrun with patients.
Alabama and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates in the country: less than 35% of residents are fully inoculated, according to the Mayo Clinic. Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas are all in the lowest 15 states.
Florida makes up more than 20% of the nation’s new cases and hospitalizations, triple its share of the population. Many rural counties have vaccination rates below 40%, with the state at 49%.
So once again we're headed for a parabolic rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The difference now is vaccination, and among those who still simply choose to refuse, the results are going to be heartbreaking.