July 20, 2021 – The country’s top health officials said on Tuesday that the Delta variant of the coronavirus roams the country and is now responsible for 83% of all cases in the United States.
That’s a massive increase from a week ago, when Delta was believed to be responsible for just over half of new cases, CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, told a Senate committee.
“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of the disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” she said.
Meanwhile, several southern states are reporting a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in areas with low vaccination rates, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri report full-blown epidemics, and neighboring states such as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas follow.
“4e the wave is here, ”Thomas Dobbs, MD, Mississippi public health official, wrote on Twitter Monday.
Dobbs released a chart of hospitalizations in Mississippi, which showed the numbers rose significantly in July after hitting a low in May and June.
“Very sad indeed,” he wrote. “It shouldn’t be like that.”
Mississippi reported more than 2,300 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, the largest 3-day increase in cases in the state since February, according to the Associated Press. Mississippi has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country.
Florida has become one of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the country, now accounting for a fifth of new infections in the United States, according to NBC News.
In Jacksonville, UF Health broke its record for COVID-19 hospital patients, dropping from 86 patients on Sunday to 126 on Monday.
“We’re seeing cases at such a rapid rate that we don’t really know where it’s going to end,” Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health, told NBC News.
“We don’t even think about a few months,” he said. “We are thinking about what will happen immediately next week.”
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