The COVID news has been indisputably good across the US in the last few weeks, but USA Today reports that eight states are now seeing an increase in cases. And it appears the spikes have a common denominator: Of those eight states—Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming—seven have vaccination rates below the national average of 43%. (Hawaii is the outlier.) Related coverage:
- That syncs with an analysis in the Washington Post that finds states with higher vaccination rates have "markedly fewer" new cases, and states with lower rates have "significantly higher" hospitalizations. The analysis notes that this is a new trend—"as recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases."
- In the New York Times, David Leonhardt notes that the pace of vaccinations has slowed, as roughly one-third of Americans remain resistant to getting a shot. The double whammy is that this slowdown comes as the dangerous new Delta variant, first detected in India, is spreading. On CBS News Sunday, former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb said Delta now accounts for 10% of US cases, and the number is "doubling every two weeks."
- "I think the risk is really to the fall that this could spike a new epidemic heading into the fall," said Gottlieb, referring to Delta. The sentiment is echoed in a Twitter thread from Dr. Robert Wachter of the University of California. “I’ll now bet we’ll see significant (incl. many hospitalizations/deaths) surges this fall in low-vaccine populations due to combo of seasonality, Delta’s nastiness, & ‘back to normal’ behavior," he wrote.
- In the Times analysis, Leonhardt notes that vaccines work well against Delta and other variants. And he cites this summation from Wachter: “If you’re fully vaxxed, I wouldn’t be too worried, especially if you’re in a highly vaxxed region,” the doctor wrote. “If you’re not vaccinated: I’d be afraid. Maybe even very afraid.”
- The US, meanwhile, is on the brink of 600,000 deaths overall, per Johns Hopkins.
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