The seven-day average for new daily COVID-19 infections has surpassed 100,000 in the U.S., returning to levels not seen since the winter surge.
Cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed in the last month, driven by the highly contagious delta variant. The country was averaging about 11,000 cases a day in late June. Now the number is 107,143.
The virus is spreading quickly through unvaccinated populations, especially in the Deep South. Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi have had hospitals overrun with patients.
The U.S. first crossed the 100,000 average number in November and peaked at about 250,000 in early January before bottoming out in late June.
Vaccinating COVID-19 survivors
In New York even people who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to get vaccinated, and a new study shows survivors who ignored that advice had twice the risk of getting reinfected.
The report Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes as scientists urge people to get vaccinated because of the highly contagious delta variant. That includes people who had a prior infection.
The report out of Kentucky adds to growing laboratory evidence that vaccines offer an important boost to natural immunity, including broader protection against new variants.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, please still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious delta variant spreads around the country.”
There’s little information yet on reinfections with the newer delta variant. But U.S. health officials point to early data from Britain that the reinfection risk appears greater with delta than with the common alpha variant, once people are six months past their prior infection.
“There’s no doubt” that vaccinating a COVID-19 survivor enhances both the amount and breadth of immunity “so that you cover not only the original (virus) but the variants,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert, said at a recent White House briefing.