/Covid-19 cases surge nationwide as vaccination rates plummet from spring highs

Covid-19 cases surge nationwide as vaccination rates plummet from spring highs


Every state in the US reported more Covid-19 cases in the week ending Friday than the week prior, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with the gravity of the situation evident from coast to coast.

In California this week, San Diego County and Los Angeles County both reported their highest number of cases since February, and hospitalizations in LA County have more than doubled in two weeks. In Florida, state health data shows that new case positivity nearly doubled in two weeks’ time, from 7.8% the week of July 2 to 15.1% this week.

Louisiana now has the highest growth rate in cases per capita in the US, state officials noted Friday. Louisiana reported its third-highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic Wednesday.

“We know that more than 80% of these are the Delta variant, that is what’s causing this surge,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “And what’s enabling the surge is a very low percentage of people who have been vaccinated.”

Thirty states have yet to fully vaccinate at least half of their residents, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as of Friday, the daily average of people becoming fully vaccinated is the lowest it’s been since the end of January.
Nurses Assistant Vanessa Gutierrez, left, and Jamie McDonough, RN, enter a Covid-19 patient room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Nurses Assistant Vanessa Gutierrez, left, and Jamie McDonough, RN, enter a Covid-19 patient room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
As shown this year following the winter holiday surge, vaccines remain the best way forward in defeating Covid-19 by giving people a much stronger chance of avoiding infection or hospitalization.

In the rare case that a person who is vaccinated gets the virus, it is likely that the infection will be mild or asymptomatic, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy reiterated on Friday.

“You should feel confident if you are vaccinated, your chances of getting severe illness or dying from Covid are very, very low,” Murthy told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “If you do get a breakthrough infection — which itself will be unusual — it will be more likely to be mild or asymptomatic.”

Murthy said he is concerned the Delta variant is spreading quickly among unvaccinated people, who account for the vast majority of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths.

“The thing that’s making this possible is the fact that we are dealing with the most transmissible version of Covid-19 that we’ve seen to date,” he said.

Immunocompromised Americans remain at risk

Those who are immunocompromised and vaccinated against Covid-19 may want to continue wearing masks, according to Murthy, and vaccinated people living in high transmission areas and those with young children may want to mask up as well.

“Those are all circumstances where people may make the decision to actually go the extra mile, be cautious and wear masks, especially in indoor settings,” Murthy told CNN.

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County more than doubled in 2 weeksCovid-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County more than doubled in 2 weeks

Immunocompromised people may be at greater risk for Covid-19 themselves, Murthy noted, while others may want to mask up to protect the people around them.

“In the case of parents who have kids at home, they may decide that, ‘Even if there’s a really small chance I could pass it on to my kids, I want to be cautious because I’m living in an area with a lot of virus circulating,'” he said.

Meanwhile, research is being conducted to determine whether an additional boost with vaccines can be provided for the immunocompromised.

The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration are “exploring multiple options” for how to make a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine possible for immunocompromised people if needed, according to a statement on Friday.

The prospect of needing another dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccines after full immunization is under review. The vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use and providing a third dose has not been authorized.

Unvaccinated nursing instructor in Missouri is hospitalized with Covid-19, urges everyone to get the vaccineUnvaccinated nursing instructor in Missouri is hospitalized with Covid-19, urges everyone to get the vaccine

On Thursday, the CDC presented data to its panel of vaccine advisers indicating that immunocompromised people comprise about 2.7% of adults in the US.

When immunocompromised people are infected with coronavirus, the data showed they are more likely to get severely ill. If they are vaccinated, the data showed they are more likely to have breakthrough infections. A study in the US found 44% of hospitalized breakthrough cases were immunocompromised people, while a study in Israel found a rate of 40%.

“Emerging data show there is an enhanced antibody response after an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in some immunocompromised people,” the CDC said in a statement to CNN on Friday. “While early data show some potential benefit to administering an additional dose, more evidence is needed to determine safety and effectiveness in immunocompromised people.”

A person receives a nasal test at a Covid-19 testing and vaccination site at Barnett Park in Orlando, Florida, July 21, 2021.A person receives a nasal test at a Covid-19 testing and vaccination site at Barnett Park in Orlando, Florida, July 21, 2021.

Caution urged at festival as cases rise in Florida

Even for the community at-large who are not immunocompromised, the Delta variant is still putting people at considerable risk for infection, as evident in the state of Florida.

The state reported 73,199 new Covid-19 cases this past week, which is up from 45,603 the previous week, according to data from the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
Travel to the Caribbean during Covid-19: What you need to know before you goTravel to the Caribbean during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

And the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered dropped in the past 10 weeks, from more than 769,000 doses administered the week of May 14 to around 245,000 this week.

Miami-Dade has the highest number of new cases among all Florida counties this week, according to DOH data, and officials are calling for caution during summer gatherings.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Saturday urged concertgoers at the three-day Rolling Loud Festival to help “slow the spread by practicing safe behavior.”

The mayor said anyone who isn’t vaccinated can do so at the county’s pop-up vaccine site set up at the music festival.

The vaccine site was set up in conjunction with the state Department of Health and will offer both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines until midnight Sunday, according to the county’s website.

CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, John Bonifield, Elizabeth Cohen, Melissa Alonso, Chuck Johnston, Alexandra Meeks and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.

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