"For the most part, people seem to feel as if COVID is over," one epidemiologist tells the Wall Street Journal. But that's not so: In the US, the number of new cases per day has doubled over the past three weeks. On Monday, the seven-day average hit 23,600 per day; on June 23, the number was just 11,300, the AP reports. Hospitalizations are rising, too, with the seven-day average up from 12,000 at the end of June to around 13,200 now. Deaths, however, typically lag as an indicator, and are currently still low, with a seven-day average of 255. Officials say the highly contagious Delta variant, which is now dominant in the US, is partially to blame. And, as the Intelligencer reports, states with lower vaccination rates are also seeing more of an increase.
Younger, unvaccinated people and an uptick in socializing, particularly during the summer months and over the Fourth of July holiday, are also driving the increase, officials say. With the CDC relaxing mask guidelines and many areas dropping public health mandates, experts say, people are getting complacent—but Dr. Anthony Fauci recently warned that the CDC's recommendations are broad, and when cases are increasing at the local level, local authorities should consider re-implementing mask mandates or recommendations. Some places, like Los Angeles County and St. Louis, are doing so. Authorities are also urging people to get vaccinated, with just 55.6% of Americans having received at least one dose so far. The vast majority of deaths currently occurring are among the unvaccinated population. (Read more coronavirus stories.)