The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a surge of deaths around the United States almost entirely among unvaccinated people, U.S. officials said on Friday.
U.S. cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.The seven-day-average number of daily cases is now more than 26,000, more than twice its June low of around 11,000 cases, according to CDC data.
The starkest uptick in cases has occurred in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada, said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients. All those states have below-average vaccination rates.
"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Walensky said, adding that 97% of people entering hospitals in the United States with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
She said an increasing number of counties around the United States now exhibit a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, reversing significant declines in transmission risk in recent months.
Around 1 in five new cases have occurred in Florida, Zients said.