National numbers, August 15

County-level community transmission map from the August 12 Community Profile Report. The vast majority of the country is in the red zone.

In the past week (August 7 through 13), the U.S. reported about 800,000 new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 114,000 new cases each day
  • 244 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 18% more new cases than last week (July 31-August 6)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 71,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (21.5 for every 100,000 people)
  • 3,400 new COVID-19 deaths (1.1 for every 100,000 people)
  • 97% of new cases now Delta-caused (as of August 7)
  • An average of 740,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are now solidly over 100,000 new cases a day, a benchmark not hit since early February. And, per the latest CDC estimates, 97% of those cases are Delta.

It cannot be overstated how dire the COVID-19 situation has become in southern hotspots. If one is to calculate the cases per capita in all U.S. states and countries of the world, three states make the top five: Louisiana, Florida, and Mississippi.

In these states, hospitals are filling to a degree not seen since New York City at the beginning of the pandemic. For example, in Brevard County, Florida, local officials are asking residents to avoid calling 911 unless the situation is truly dire. “Leave emergency room and ambulance trips for those with life-threatening or serious emergencies,” the county’s fire chief told CBS News.

Florida as a whole now has about 14,000 patients in state hospitals, per HHS data. During the winter surge, the state peaked at under 8,000. And more than half of patients in state ICUs are sick with COVID-19. Florida and Texas combined account for over 40% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country.

As this Delta surge progresses, one major challenge may be that not enough Americans are getting tested—especially those who are vaccinated. While the vaccines are very good at protecting against severe disease and death, including from Delta, breakthrough infections have become more common; if these cases are not caught, they can fuel coronavirus spread among the unvaccinated. Overall test positivity in the U.S. has been about 10% for the past two weeks, per HHS data, indicating that we’re missing a lot of those infections. In some southern counties, it’s well above 20%.

This surge’s silver lining continues: vaccinations are still going up. Almost one million new doses were reported in a single day on Saturday. But vaccination alone is not enough to completely stop COVID-19’s spread, especially when a variant as contagious as Delta has taken the reins.

Leave a Reply