A health expert is warning that the U.S. needs to ‘do something dramatic’ to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases across the country.
On Thursday, the U.S. recorded 28,412 new cases with a seven-day rolling average of 26,079, a 135 percent increase from the 11,067 average recorded two weeks ago.
Nearly every state – aside from Florida – and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
Officials blame a mix of low vaccination rates and the spread of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant, which now makes up about 60 percent of all new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
‘We’re seeing this because the public misunderstood the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people as “We can now do whatever we want. Even if we are unvaccinated, we can now behave as if we are vaccinated,”‘ Dr Leana Wen, a visiting professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday.
Her comments come as CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. is becoming ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated.’
She said that the majority of coronavirus cases, hospitalization and deaths are now occurring among people who haven’t gotten two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
It’s unclear how many of these have occurred in Americans who haven’t completed their vaccine series.
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The U.S. recorded 28,412 new cases with a seven-day rolling average of 26,079, a 135% increase from the 11,067 average recorded two weeks ago
Nearly every state – aside from Florida – and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said the virus is becoming ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’ during a press conference on Friday
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 83 percent from 1,029 per day to 1,892 per day in the last two weeks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with 46 percent of residents having received received at least one dose, and 40 percent fully vaccinated.
Comparatively, 55.8 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 48.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently admitted that the federal health agency is more concerned about Missouri than any other state
‘When I look at the map Missouri actually jumps out as the place that I’m most worried about because there’s a lot of cases now happening very rapidly,’ he told McClatchy.
‘The chances of getting infected in Missouri are getting really high and that means potentially serious illness or even death.’
The outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant, which makes up more than 97 percent of cases in the state, especially spreading like wildfire in the southwest.
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases risen by 83% from 1,029 per day to 1,892 per day in the last two weeks
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 515 per day two weeks ago to 1,444 per day on Thursday, a 185% increase
In Louisiana, COVID-19 cases have risen by 466% from 299 per to 1,695 per day over the last 14 days
In Springfield, the two hospitals, CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield, are currently treating more COVID-19 patients now than at any time during the pandemic.
CoxHealth says 16 patients have died in the last week alone. .
‘We went from virtually zero patients to about 100-plus in about seven months in the first couple waves, and in this wave we went from, at least at Cox, about 14 patients seven weeks ago to about 130 today,’ CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards said at a news conference on Wednesday.
‘So the ramp up time has been accelerated, almost triple.’
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 515 per day two weeks ago to 1,444 per day on Thursday, a 185 percent increase, the DailyMail.com analysis found.
Only 35.1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated as infection double every 10 day according to Dr Cam Patterson, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson (R) has been pleading with residents to get vaccinated and has attended community events across the state in an attempt to boost vaccination rates.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas said he believes mask mandate should be reinstated due to the surge of cases.
‘Yeah it was a bad idea,’ Michael John Gray told KATV in reference to a March law that restricts the return of mask mandates.
‘I don’t like it, I don’t like things shut down, I don’t like capacity, but if that’s what we have to do to make sure we’re all year this time next year.’
In nearby Louisiana, cases have risen by 466 percent from 299 per to 1,695 per day over the last 14 days.
Dr Frank Courmier, the medical director for pulmonary and critical services at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, told CNN that the COVID-19 patients admitted to his hospital are in their 30s and 40s, much younger than in previous waves.
‘We’re getting people in their third and fourth decades, otherwise healthy with no real preexisting conditions coming in, unvaccinated and very sick, very fast,’ he said. ‘We see almost no vaccinated patients.’
Louisiana has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates of the country with about 36 percent fully vaccinated, CDC data show.
The low rate shows. In a release on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health revealed that 94 percent of the state’s 19,200 cases in May were among people who did not complete their vaccine series.
The data are very clear,’ said Dr Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer, in the release.
‘COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people in Louisiana are surging. COVID-19 hospitalizations, percent positivity and COVID-19 outbreaks are all on the rise.
‘All people in Louisiana, especially those who are not yet vaccinated, should know they are now at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to the more transmissible Delta variant, and they should consider their personal risk and their family’s risk.’