In the past week (July 24 through 30), the U.S. reported about 466,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:
- An average of 66,600 new cases each day
- 142 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
- 64% more new cases than last week (July 17-23)
Last week, America also saw:
- 38,300 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (11.7 for every 100,000 people)
- 2,100 new COVID-19 deaths (0.6 for every 100,000 people)
- 82% of new cases now Delta-caused (as of July 17)
- An average of 660,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)
Not only is the Delta variant driving a case rise, it’s driving an exponential case rise. This week, about 466,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported; that number is more than five times higher than what we saw during the week ending July 2.
Parts of the country with lower vaccination rates are more vulnerable to Delta, of course. Current hotspots include Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama, all of which reported at least 300 new cases for every 100,000 people in the past week and all of which have under half of their populations fully vaccinated.
But Delta is now entirely dominant—causing at least 82% of cases in the country, per the most recent (yet two weeks old) CDC estimate—and every single state is seeing case surges right now. Hospitalizations are also up, 46% higher than last week, and deaths are up 33%. About 300 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day—and almost all of those deaths are entirely preventable.
The CDC is now recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor settings, if they live in high-transmission areas, have young children, or fit other criteria. While you can use the CDC’s county-level data to find your community’s COVID-19 status, it’s important to note that everyone’s risk levels are elevated right now.
Katherine J. Wu said it well in The Atlantic on Friday:
Some 70 percent of American counties are, according to the map, currently on fire; that percentage will probably tick up before it drops again. For now, I am tracking my pandemic circumstances. But my boundaries for my “community” are bigger than what the map says they are. They don’t stop at my county line, or my state line. They go as far as the virus treads—everywhere. Right now, I’m masking for as many people as I can.
All that said, there’s one silver lining to this new surge: vaccination numbers are ticking up again, with the highest daily rates now in states like Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri where the new COVID-19 wave is hitting the hardest. The vaccines are still our best protection against Delta and other variants; more on that later in the issue.