National numbers, August 29

Delta is causing 99% or a higher share of new cases in every region of the U.S., according to CDC estimates.

In the past week (August 21 through 27), the U.S. reported about one million new cases, according to the CDC. This amounts to:

  • An average of 142,000 new cases each day
  • 303 total new cases for every 100,000 Americans
  • 3% more new cases than last week (August 14-20)

Last week, America also saw:

  • 86,000 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals (26 for every 100,000 people)
  • 6,000 new COVID-19 deaths (1.8 for every 100,000 people)
  • 99% of new cases now Delta-caused (as of August 21)
  • An average of 900,000 vaccinations per day (per Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. just keep rising, approaching 150,000 new cases a day. Case numbers have not been this high since January, during the winter surge. The case rise does seem to be decelerating, however: cases are only up 3% this week compared to last week, after much higher jumps in late July and early August.

It’s worth emphasizing here that, per the CDC’s latest estimates, a full 99% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are driven by Delta. Alpha, the variant we were all so worried about back in the spring, is down to just 0.2% of cases. On a practical level, that means anywhere you may encounter the coronavirus—at a restaurant, on the train, at an elementary school—this virus is highly transmissible, capable of spreading between unvaccinated people in just a few seconds.

Florida and Louisiana continue to be major COVID-19 hotspots, but Mississippi is now seeing the country’s highest case numbers—753 cases per 100,000 residents in the past week, per Friday’s Community Profile Report. Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas all recorded over 500 cases per 100,000 last week as well. Hurricane Ida, now on track to hit New Orleans, is sure to complicate COVID-19 prevention efforts in Louisiana and other coastal states.

While the South lights up with record cases and hospitalizations, every single state is currently seeing high coronavirus transmission, according to the CDC’s categories (over 100 new cases per 100,000 in the past week and/or test positivity over 10%). Almost every county is in the red as well.

Almost 90,000 Americans are in the hospital with COVID-19 right now, about three-quarters of the way to last winter’s peak. While vaccinations continue to increase, we’ll need more mitigation than just shots in arms to control this current surge.

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