New cases of COVID-19 are spiking across the US, fueled by the more infectious Delta variant — stoking fears of a virus resurgence as President Biden pleads with unvaccinated Americans to roll up their sleeves.
An average of 32,387 new coronavirus cases were reported each day over the past week — more than double what the seven-day average was 10 days earlier, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
The rise also occurred in every state, as well as in the nation’s capital, where Biden on Monday urged those who haven’t yet been jabbed to get their shot as soon as possible.
“If you’re unvaccinated, you are not protected,” Biden told reporters. “So please, please get vaccinated now. It works. It’s safe, it’s free, it’s convenient. You know? This virus doesn’t have to hold you back any longer.”
Less than 400,000 Americans are currently getting their first vaccine dose daily, down from a high of more than 2 million a day in April. More than 90 million of those eligible have not gotten a dose, the Associated Press reported Monday.
As a result, hospitalizations due to the virus have also increased 35.8 percent between July 7-13 compared to the previous seven days, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Doctors are attributing the uptick to the highly contagious Delta variant, which first emerged in India last year and is up to 80 percent more infectious than the original strain.
Epidemiologists told the Wall Street Journal that the rise in cases and hospitalizations across the US has been more severe in states with lower vaccination rates.
In Arkansas, just over 40 percent of the population age 12 and up is fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Nationwide, under half (48 percent) of the population is fully vaccinated, CDC data shows, while only just over half (56 percent) have gotten at least one shot.
Just 38 percent of people ages 18 to 29 received at least one dose — the lowest rate of any group, according to a CDC report last month cited by the Wall Street Journal. Elderly Americans had the highest rate at 80 percent, the report found.
“We’re in a hot mess,” Ben Amick, an epidemiology professor at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences told the outlet.
“Everybody’s tired. Everybody’s exhausted. Everybody’s ready for it to be done, and everybody believes that it was done earlier in the summer. We have a substantial problem now.”
Deaths from the virus also rose 25 percent last week, reaching an average of 250 per day, according to a Reuters analysis.
Fears of the variant’s continued spread, meanwhile, spooked Wall Street Monday, with the Dow plunging 725 points, or 2.1 percent — in its worst day since October. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also fell 1.6 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.