U.S. COVID-19 cases rising again, doubling over three weeks

The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.

Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And all but two states—Maine and South Dakota—reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks.

Indiana reported 572 new COVID cases on Tuesday, the largest number in the state’s daily report since May 27. Statewide hospitalizations also have risen to 450, the highest number in nearly a month.

“It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend,” said Dr. Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.

At the same time, parts of the country are running up against deep vaccine resistance, while the highly contagious mutant version of the coronavirus that was first detected in India is accounting for an ever-larger share of infections.

Nationally, 55.6% of all Americans have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The five states with the biggest two-week jump in cases per capita all had lower vaccination rates: Missouri, 45.9%; Arkansas, 43%; Nevada, 50.9%; Louisiana, 39.2%; and Utah, 49.5%.

Even with the latest surge, cases in the U.S. are nowhere near their peak of a quarter-million per day in January. And deaths are running at under 260 per day on average after topping out at more than 3,400 over the winter—a testament to how effectively the vaccine can prevent serious illness and death in those who happen to become infected.

Still, amid the rise, health authorities in places such as Los Angeles County and St. Louis are begging even immunized people to resume wearing masks in public. And Chicago officials announced Tuesday that unvaccinated travelers from Missouri and Arkansas must either quarantine for 10 days or have a negative COVID-19 test.

Meanwhile, the Health Department in Mississippi, which ranks dead last nationally for vaccinations, began blocking posts about COVID-19 on its Facebook page because of a “rise of misinformation” about the virus and the vaccine.

Mississippi officials are also recommending that people 65 and older and those with chronic underlying conditions stay away from large indoor gatherings because of a 150% rise in hospitalizations over the past three weeks.

In Louisiana, which also has one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, officials in the city of New Orleans said Tuesday that they are likely to extend until fall virus-mitigation efforts currently in place at large sporting and entertainment gatherings, including mask mandates or requirements that attendees be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test. State health officials said cases of the coronavirus are surging, largely among nonvaccinated people.

But the political will may not be there in many states fatigued by months of restrictions.

In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing a drive to repeal a law that she used to set major restrictions during the early stages of the pandemic.

And Republican Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama pushed back against the idea that the state might need to reimpose preventive measures as vaccinations lag and hospitalizations rise.

“Alabama is OPEN for business. Vaccines are readily available, and I encourage folks to get one. The state of emergency and health orders have expired. We are moving forward,” she said on social media.

Dr. James Lawler, a leader of the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, said bringing back masks and limiting gatherings would help. But he acknowledged that most of the places seeing higher rates of the virus “are exactly the areas of the country that don’t want to do any of these things.”

Lawler warned that what is happening in Britain is a preview of what’s to come in the U.S.

“The descriptions from regions of the world where the delta variant has taken hold and become the predominant virus are pictures of ICUs full of 30-year-olds. That’s what the critical care doctors describe and that’s what’s coming to the U.S.,” he said.

He added: “I think people have no clue what’s about to hit us.”

President Joe Biden is putting a dose of star power behind the administration’s efforts to get young people vaccinated. Eighteen-year-old actress, singer and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo will meet with Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday.

While the administration has had success vaccinating older Americans, young adults have shown less urgency to get the shots.

Some, at least, are heeding the call in Missouri after weeks of begging, said Erik Frederick, chief administrative officer of Mercy Hospital Springfield. He tweeted that the number of people getting immunized at its vaccine clinic has jumped from 150 to 250 daily.

“That gives me hope,” he said.

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12 thoughts on “U.S. COVID-19 cases rising again, doubling over three weeks

    1. Agreed. The sad part is Donald got vaccinated before he left the White House but he lacks the compassion & leadership to encourage his blind followers to do the same. And…they’re also jeopardizing everyone who *is* vaccinated because they stand to create a mutated strain (“variant” seems lost on these fools) which is capable of infecting everyone. It’s kind of sad to see what Tennessee is doing to their kids who want to get vaccinated.

    2. Phillip,

      I’m sure you (sorry the government) want to make all decisions for kids when you don’t agree with their parents.

    3. Derek: Nope. If someone wants to remain unvaccinated, it’s their choice to be an idiot, I mean selfish. Right now, their choice is only affecting themselves and other idiots, I mean selfish people. But I also believe businesses should be allowed to require showing you are vaccinated to allow you admission to their grounds. Barring businesses from having the freedom to make the choice is government overreach, pure and simple – no different than the government forcibly lining people up for vaccinations. If a business wants to require proof of vaccination and no one enters their establishment, then they are making a choice. It isn’t discrimination, so I foresee an idiot, I mean, someone, saying, “how is it any different than allowing them to bar someone based upon race?” So let’s not go there.

  1. Yeah right, Phillip. There is a certain sector of the population that absolutely refuses to get the vaccine but because of the “wokeness” in our world no one has the intestinal fortitude to call them out, but instead we pander to them. Wake up.

    1. It’s amazing how many “pro-life” people lose interest in keeping people alive once they exit the birth canal. After that, they sure seem pro-death.

  2. It’s funny all of you want to blame the Trumpsters for not getting vaccinated when one of the largest segments of the population not getting shots are African Americans who are mostly Democratic voters. Maybe their are non-political reasons people do not get the shot or want their kids too get it, like for example you have already had Covid. It’s not always about donkey’s and elephants!

    1. Yet when the government tries to reach people by going door to door, to reach people who don’t have the means to get to a vaccine clinic, it’s the Trumpers who scream about government overreach. Or, in Tennessee, decide the government will no longer be involved with ANY vaccinations going forward.

      I get why African Americans might need to be convinced after reading about the Tuskegee experiments, or who might not be able to chance a shot making them sick and making them miss work. Or is that acknowledging that make me guilty of critical race theory? I always fear I’m going to make some right-wing snowflake feel bad… they’re tough, just ask them, but words sure hurt them….

      Explain to me how today’s GOP isn’t a death cult. Because they sure don’t act like a group of people interested in human life. Abortion is bad, full stop. But not doing what’s easily possible to help people live longer, healthier lives is just as bad.

    2. Joe B. the GOP was neutered in the last election and the Dem’s control everything right now so other than some states and localities flexing their muscle the national story is a one sided arrangement right now. The mid terms are really going to tell the mood of the country and if the majority like the direction or not. I feel the Dem’s have overreached and would normally get creamed, but things are so polarized it’s hard to say. Personally, the more decisions that are made statewide and locally are my preference except for when I have to pay for other states incompetent decisions. I could turn your abortion argument on you with the reverse argument for Dem’s. Why would a party that has no regard for the unborn care so deeply about my life? This fight is about keeping your freedom. Their are communist countries just watching what happens to America because if your side gets permanent control democracy and freedom will die worldwide.

    3. The GOP has full control in 23 states, Democrats 15 states. The Democrats have bare majorities in Congress and are their usual dysfunctional selves. Spare me that Republicans are “neutered”. I’d say that they’re a party bereft of ideas and they are dangers to democracy, but not “neutered”.

      ”Why would a party that has no regard for the unborn care so deeply about my life? ”

      Who said they care about your life? They’re fighting for not dying themselves when someone else gets them sick, someone who refuses to wear a mask or refuses to get vaccinated because some clown on Facebook is more trustworthy to them any actual scientist.

      You’re fighting for the right to infect other people. You want “freedom” without any responsibilities or consequences, which isn’t how “freedom” works.

      I hope everyone is enjoying the vaccines working. Because a variant is coming which will evade them, and the responsible people who got vaccinated will be back hiding in their homes and wearing masks when they venture out. I’m sure that will be Joe Biden’s fault.

      https://www.atr.org/map for the state control numbers.

    4. The variants are coming. That’s what virus’s like the flu do. They make their yearly rounds. I take the flu shot because I think if I get the flu at least I won’t get as sick and certainly won’t die. I think that’s all you can ask from the Covid vaccines. It keeps people alive and out of the hospitals even if they do catch the virus. I’m no longer scared of getting it because I think I can survive it with the shot’s and I think if you got the shot you should not be hiding in your home and masking up again. The people that didn’t get it are free to take their chances. My only issue is that I had a problem with my shot and not sure I would do it again, but I expect that’s coming with the new variant’s. Such a dilemma, but I’m hoping they can soon figure out how to minimize some of the side effects.
      Of course it will be Joe B’s fault like everything is Trumps right now. Maybe you should change your name lol.

    5. Yes, I am perplexed as to why Trump would get vaccinated but not advise any of his many, many fans to do the same. It’s almost as though he doesn’t really care about them and just tells them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Maybe he hasn’t realized yet that dead people can’t vote for him, nor can they send him money…

      I don’t understand why the right wing echo chamber made vaccines political either, but perhaps they also haven’t realized that killing off one’s supporters is bad business. Then again, they wouldn’t report a spike in cases, and if they did, it would be Joe Biden’s fault anyway. Anything to keep the base enraged.