National numbers, August 8

Delta continues to dominate COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The CDC updated its variant estimates this week, reporting that Delta made up 93% of U.S. cases at the end of July. It’s driving rising cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

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Unpacking Delta numbers from this week’s headlines

It’s no surprise that Delta (B.1.617.2) is bad news. From the moment it was identified in India, this variant has been linked to rapid transmission and rapid case rises, even in areas where the vaccination rates are high. This week, however, the CDC’s changed mask guidance—combined with new reports on breakthrough cases associated with Delta—has triggered widespread conversation about precisely how much damage this variant can do.

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National numbers, August 1

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.

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National numbers, July 18

Cases have been rising for a couple of weeks now, but we’re now seeing the sharpest increase since fall 2020. Between July 9 and July 16, we went from an average of 15,000 new cases a day to an average of 26,000 new cases a day.

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National numbers, July 11

The Delta variant is now officially causing more than half of new cases in the U.S., per the CDC’s Nowcast estimates. This super-transmissible variant has contributed to rising cases in under-vaccinated parts of the country.

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Breakthrough cases: What we know right now

While epidemiologists may consider any new outbreak a possible source of new variants, one key way to monitor the virus/variant race is by analyzing breakthrough cases—those infections that occur after someone has been fully vaccinated. Here’s how states and the CDC are tracking these cases now, and what we know about vaccine protection against the variants.

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National numbers, July 4

This is the first week since April that we’ve seen new COVID-19 case numbers go up in the U.S. It’s nominally a small bump—about 7,300 more cases than last week—but represents a 9% increase, and may be the beginning of a summer surge. (Even if we see a dip in the numbers this week due to the July 4 holiday.)

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