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New COVID-19 cases have reached 149,000 per day in the United States, although the daily vaccination rate also continues to edge upward. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • New COVID-19 cases are now nearly 150,000 per day in the United States.
  • Experts warn that areas with many unvaccinated people, as well as emerging variants, could lead to another surge in cases.
  • The daily vaccination rate in the United States rose slightly this past week to 920,000. Experts say that elected and community leaders need to continue to promote the benefits of vaccination.

Editor’s note: This story is updated regularly as new statistics are released.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase in the United States, but the daily number of vaccinations is also slowly rising.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 7-day average number of new U.S. cases has risen to 149,000 per day, about 8,000 more than a week ago. The current case levels are the highest seen since January.

The total number of new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended Sunday was listed at 1,093,856, a 6 percent increase from the previous week.

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 for the same time period were listed as 10,528, a 48 percent hike from the prior week.

Hospitalizations have risen to almost 93,000, about 3,000 more than a week ago.

Meanwhile, the 7-day average of vaccine doses administered in the United States increased to about 920,000 a day, a jump of 10,000 from a week ago. The week’s total included 1 million vaccine doses administered on Saturday.

Overall, the United States has reported more than 39 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States have now surpassed 639,000.

A new report from North Carolina concludes that unvaccinated people are four times more likely to develop COVID-19 and 15 times more likely to die from the disease than those who are vaccinated.

Another study from Los Angeles County reported that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19.

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This CDC map shows the level of community transmission of COVID-19 on a county-by-county basis across the United States as of Aug. 31. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The continued rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths has some experts worried that the most recent COVID-19 surge has not reached its zenith.

“The recent surge makes clear that we have a long road ahead before we are out of the woods,” Dr. Jamila Taylor, director of healthcare reform and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told Healthline.

“We still have more work to do to get control of this virus and, sadly, I do not think we have reached the peak. We will continue to see a surge over the next several weeks. I’m hoping this trend will shift later in the fall or early winter,” she said.

“There still can be local surges caused by superspreader events,” added Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. “In general, this level of cases and hospitalizations… could continue well into the fall.”

Both Taylor and Schaffner said they’re concerned about potential spikes in cases as students return to schools and universities, especially in areas where mask mandates remain hotly debated.

“There is no doubt that the inconsistent use of masks, social distancing, and the universal vaccination of all adults associated with schools will promote school-based transmission of the Delta variant. Not to mention the under-immunization of all children age 12 and older,” Schaffner said.

“As a result, there will be more Delta spread among the children, resulting in more children admitted to hospitals and more distressed and grieving parents,” he added.

“Adults who are eligible for the vaccine need to realize that one of the best ways to keep their children safe, as well as the children within their communities safe, is to get vaccinated,” Taylor said.

Both experts said the recent uptick in vaccinations is encouraging, but it’s still not enough.

“We are in a situation where we are trying to play catch up,” Taylor said. “It is as if there is a race between the effort to get people vaccinated and the wild spread of the Delta variant. It is extremely important that we outpace vaccinations in the head-to-head with the Delta variant.”

“It is gratifying to see this rise in vaccine acceptance,” Schaffner added, “but there are parts of the country, such as my own state of Tennessee, where there is such a large deficit in vaccinations, that the rate of new vaccinations needs to increase even more if we are to catch up with the rest of the country.”

There were 41 states that reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended Sunday.

West Virginia had the largest jump with an 80 percent increase to 9,986 cases. South Dakota was next with a 60 percent hike to 2,481 cases.

There are heightened concerns in South Dakota and its neighboring states due to the large motorcycle rally held in early August in the town of Sturgis. Experts say there are 178 confirmed COVID-19 cases across five states connected to the 10-day event that was attended by 500,000 people.

They add there’s been a considerable uptick in new cases in South Dakota as well as in the county where the rally was held. The 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was connected to a surge of cases across the Midwest that lasted into the late fall.

“We already had ‘learned’ the lessons from the Sturgis rally last year when it produced outbreaks across the country,” Schaffner said. “We obviously have not embraced fundamental concepts. When large numbers of unvaccinated and unmasked persons gather in close quarters over a week, that is the recipe for a superspreader event. The lesson is not to permit such events to occur.”

In overall numbers, the CDC reports that Florida had the most new cases in the past 7 days with 146,313, about the same as a week ago.

Texas is second with 108,824 new cases this past week, almost 10,000 fewer than the previous week.

Georgia is now third with 64,905 cases, about 8,000 more than the previous week.

California is fourth with 56,366 new cases, about 2,000 fewer than the previous week.

Tennessee is now fifth with 44,644 new cases.

The CDC reports that Florida is the leader on a per capita basis, with 681 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 7 days.

South Carolina is second with 670 cases per 100,000 residents, while Mississippi is third with 669 cases per 100,000.

Kentucky is fourth with 660 cases per 100,000 residents, and Tennessee is fifth at 653 cases per 100,000 residents.

Here’s a look at those states with the highest per capita caseload and their percentage of fully vaccinated people:

There were 42 states that reported an increase in COVID-19-related deaths for the week that ended Sunday.

New York had the highest jump with an increase of 994 percent to 1,642 deaths. Next was New Hampshire with an 800 percent hike to 18 deaths.

Outside of New York, Texas recorded the most COVID-19 deaths over the past 7 days with 1,381.

Louisiana was next with 382 deaths, followed by Georgia with 378 deaths.

The CDC reports there have been more than 370 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across the country.

More than 205 million people have received at least one dose. More than 174 million people are fully vaccinated.

That means that nearly 62 percent of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose. About 74 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose.

California has administered the most doses with more than 48 million. That’s followed by Texas with more than 30 million.

New York and Florida have both administered more than 24 million doses. Pennsylvania is fifth with more than 15 million.

None of those states, however, is in the top five for percentage of the population that’s received at least one dose:

On Aug. 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, replacing the emergency use authorization it received last December.

Schaffner said another push is still needed to persuade people who aren’t yet vaccinated to get the inoculation.

“It will take a multifaceted approach to make hesitant persons sufficiently comfortable to become vaccinated. Perhaps the most effective is seeing more of their friends and neighbors vaccinated safely and celebrating their vaccinations,” he said.

Schaffner said vaccinations are the only way out of this pandemic.

“COVID vaccination, vaccination, and more vaccination are the answers to the current expansion of transmission,” he said.

“As news of full FDA approval trickles down, we also need to continue concerted efforts to educate the public and dispel misinformation,” Taylor added.

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