‘Extraordinary surge’ in Covid cases across US driven by Delta variant | Coronavirus

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Covid cases are rising in all 50 US states as the Delta variant spreads coast to coast, news outlets reported on Friday , and with less than half the US population fully vaccinated, public health chiefs warned of an “extraordinary surge”.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a White House briefing: “This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Walensky said the US was seeing an average of 26,000 new coronavirus cases a day – a seven-day average that is 70% higher than last week. Hospitalizations and deaths are also seeing increases – about 36% and 26%, respectively, with Walensky noting this was another “critical moment” in the outbreak.

“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. Communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well,” she said.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases official, said there had been an “extraordinary surge” in the Delta variant of Covid-19 – which is more transmissible – around the world, including in the US.

Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus team, confirmed that unvaccinated Americans “account for virtually all recent Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths”.

Four states that are currently seeing high increases in Covid-19 cases have accounted for over 40% of the total Covid cases seen in the country this past week, Zients said. One in five cases occurred in Florida, in which about 50% of the state is fully vaccinated.

“Each Covid-19 death is tragic, and those happening now are even more tragic because they are preventable,” he said.

Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada are also seeing surges in infections in many parts.

On Friday, CNN reported that all US states were now experiencing an increase in new cases, more than 18 months into the pandemic.

Data compiled by the New York Times showed that the average rate measured over the past 14 days was rising in all 50 states – varying from a dramatic 373% in Tennessee to 10% in Maine.

And the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine coronavirus resource center has presented data showing cases currently rising in all states with the exception in recent days, despite Zients’s comments, of Florida.

Zients said that the White House was working on local outreach to communities that are skeptical of the vaccine and was making the vaccine accessible at doctor’s offices and workplaces.

As the prevalence of infection grows, prompting concern yet again for hospital systems, some authorities have begun to impose renewed restrictions.

Los Angeles from Saturday night will return to mandatory mask-wearing indoors, even for people who have been vaccinated, as the nation’s largest county seeks to contain a sustained increase in cases among its 10 million population.

On Thursday, LA county recorded 1,537 new cases – the largest daily load since early March.

Nearly 400 people were hospitalized with Covid in LA as of Wednesday, up 275 from the week before, and nine new Covid deaths were reported on the same day.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment,” LA county’s public health officer, Dr Muntu Davis, said.

The challenge now facing states with relatively low vaccination levels was illustrated by Louisiana, where CNN reported that only 36% of citizens are fully vaccinated and some hospitals are feeling the strain. The state is recording almost 2,000 new cases of Covid a day, the highest level in four months.

About 60% of Louisiana’s new cases are accounted for by the Delta variant.

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