COVID-19 cases across the United States have been rising rapidly in the recent weeks, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The seven-day-average of new cases was 13,859 as of July 6, up 21% compared to two weeks earlier, data showed. The rise comes at a time where vaccinations in the US have stagnated and the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus is spreading across the globe.
The number of cases reported this week is also expected to rise further due to a reporting lag during the July 4 holiday weekend.
The Delta variant accounted for nearly 52% of cases in the two weeks ending July 3, according to the CDC. The variant is more transmissible than any previous strain.
America has the maximum availability of vaccines of any country. Despite this, the country's vaccination drive has been on a downtrend trend since April. A trend that has become clear in the recent weeks is that regions in the Midwest and South with lower vaccination rates are experiencing higher case rates than regions with high vaccination rates such as the Northeast.
President Joe Biden had set a target of vaccinating 70% adult Americans by Fourth of July, a target he narrowly missed. The current vaccination figure in the US stands at 67%
A hospital in Springfield, Missouri, ran out of ventilators to treat hospitalized Covid patients over the weekend, local media reported.
The city of 160,000's two hospitals were treating 213 COVID-19 patients as of Monday, up from 168 on Friday and 31 on May 24, the Kansas City Star said.
"The trajectory that we're likely to see is two different flavors of the pandemic in the United States, one in which it's more of a problem in places where there's a high level of unvaccinated individuals," Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told AFP.