National numbers, June 20

The Delta variant is outcompeting the Alpha variant in the U.S. Source:

In the past week (June 11 through 17), the U.S. reported about 80,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 11,000 new cases each day
  • 24 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 19% fewer new cases than last week (June 5-11)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 13,800 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (4.2 for every 100,000 people)
  • 2,000 new COVID-19 deaths (0.6 for every 100,000 people)
  • 66% of new cases in the country now Alpha-caused (as of June 5)
  • 10% of new cases now Delta-caused (as of June 5)
  • An average of 1.3 million vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

Data note: The CDC skipped an update on Friday in honor of Juneteenth, so this update is a day off from our usual schedule (reflecting a Friday-Thursday week instead of a Saturday-Friday week).

Last week, I wrote that I’m getting very worried about the Delta variant (or B.1.617.2, the variant first identified in India). Now, I’m even more worried.

The CDC updated its variant prevalence estimates this week, reporting that the variant makes up 10% of U.S. cases as of June 5. This aligns with other estimates I cited last week, and suggests that the variant is spreading here at a truly rapid pace—its prevalence multiplied by four times in two weeks, according to CDC data.

That means Delta could be the dominant variant in the U.S. within a month, if not sooner. Vaccinated Americans are well-protected against this variant, but those who are unvaccinated need to get their shots—and soon.

Vaccinations have picked up a bit this week, per Bloomberg. In the past week, we’ve seen 1.3 million shots administered a day. Still, researchers have estimated that the U.S. is likely to fall short of Biden’s 70%-by-July-4 goal. Disparities persist in the rollout as well.

Meanwhile, national case numbers continue to drop (though not as dramatically as the drops a few weeks ago), while hospitalization and death numbers remain low. Notably, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals are unvaccinated.

When New York Governor Cuomo set off fireworks on Tuesday to celebrate the state’s full reopening, my girlfriend and I went up to our building’s roof to watch—only to be unable to see the show. We later realized that the fireworks were set off in New York Harbor, visible mostly to lower Manhattan (but not the outer boroughs, which have felt the brunt of COVID-19). It felt like an apt metaphor for the current state of the pandemic.

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