Eight months after the coronavirus vaccines got their first big push in the US, a milestone number. The CDC on Friday reported that 165.9 million Americans, or 50% of the nation, have been fully vaccinated, per Reuters. More than 58% of the total population—193,764,457 people, to be exact—have received at least one dose, either the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or their first of two doses from Moderna or Pfizer. Per Cyrus Shahpar, the White House's COVID chief, 565,000 newly vaxxed Americans are included in Friday's numbers, with the one-week average for new vaccinations up 11%. Per USA Today, White House officials believe one of the reasons for the sudden spike of people getting their jabs is because it's becoming clear to many that the delta variant is a different animal posing increased risks, especially in states feeling the impact the most.
NBC News reports that cases driven by delta have increased 142% over the past two weeks, while stats from the Department of Health and Human Services show rising hospitalization numbers as well. In states with the highest case rates, the number of people who've gotten their first dose has more than doubled over the past three weeks, according to Jeff Zients, the COVID response coordinator for the White House. States with the lowest vaccination rates include Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. "Clearly, Americans are seeing the impact of being unvaccinated and unprotected," Zients said during a Thursday briefing, per USA Today. "And they responded by doing their part, rolling up their sleeves, and getting vaccinated." (Read more COVID-19 stories.)