Five U.S. states currently experiencing large surges of COVID-19 cases could see deaths also spike in the coming weeks.
Nationwide, cases are up nearly 30 percent as the Indian ‘Delta’ variant continues to spread, with most concentrations in the South and Mountain West.
But one doctor told CNN that he predicts the states may also suffer a ‘surprising amount of death’ in the near future because fatalities tend to be a lagging indicator.
In Missouri, the current US epicenter, the seven-day average of cases has risen from 822 per day two weeks ago to 1,631, a jump of 98%
Arkansas has seen new coronavirus cases rise 47% in the llast two weeks from an average of 402 cases per day to 591 per day
‘In places like Missouri where ICUs are packed, you’re going to see a surprising amount of death,’ Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science, told CNN on Sunday.
Missouri continues to be the country’s COVID-19 epicenter with cases and hospitalizations continuing to soar.
Mercy Health Springfield, the biggest hospital in southwest Missouri, was overwhelmed last week after a large surge of cases.
The hospital ran out of ventilators at some point over the weekend.
Reiner told CNN that, usually, spikes in COVID-19 cases lead to a rise in death rates three to four weeks later.
‘We will start to see an increase in mortality in this country,’ he said.
CoxHealth Springfield, another hospital in the area, even had to transfer patients elsewhere to deal with a surge at their hospital.
The federal government has offered help to Springfield, sending a COVID-19 surge team to the region to assist hospitals there.
The Delta variant – a highly contagious strain of the virus that originated in India – is largely responsible for the surge.
New cases in Missouri have risen from an average of 822 per day two weeks ago to 1,631 on Sunday, a jump of 98 percent, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
An estimated 97 percent of active cases in the state are of the Delta variant.
In Arkansas – another state that has been ravaged by the variant – data from Johns Hopkins show that new cases have risen 47 percent from an average of 402 reported per day to 591 per day
More than 70 percent of active cases in Arkansas are of the Delta variant.
After months of trending downwards despite little restrictions, COVID cases in Florida have doubled over the last month
Florida, a state that previously defied the odds by keeping relatively low case rates despite limited COVID restrictions, looks to be on the verge of an outbreak as well.
Cases have more than doubled over the past month, from 1,636 on June 11 to 3,392 on July 11 – a 107 percent increase.
Louisiana (92 percent increase over past month) and Nevada (89 percent) have dealt with recent surges of cases as well.
Louisiana is suffering for a surge of COVID cases as much of their population remains unvaccinated
Nevada’s COVID situation has worsened over the past month, with daily cases nearly doubling
Some states are better equipped to deal with potential COVID-19 surges than others, though.
Nevada and Florida both have over half of their populations at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19.
While they are nowhere near reaching herd immunity – with only 51 percent and 54 percent of the populations vaccinated, respectively – controlling statewide surges is easier with so many having some defense to the virus.
Louisiana, on the other had, has struggled in its vaccine rollout, with only 39 percent having received at least one dose of a vaccine – the second lowest of any state.
Missouri with 46 percent of population at least partially vaccinated and Arkansas with 43 percent have low vaccine rates as well.
As the nation still sits on a large stockpile of vaccines, health officials still recommend everyone who can get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves from the virus.
Reiner said nearly all COVID-19 deaths are ‘completely avoidable’ now that vaccines are widely and readily available.’
The vaccines we have work really well against this variant. It doesn’t need to be this way,’ he told CNN.
In May, 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in America were among the vaccinated.
Mercy Health – which includes Mercy Springfield in its hospital system – recently set a vaccine mandate for employees to combat the surge of cases in the state from effecting their staff.
Health officials have warned that as the Delta variant spreads, pockets of unvaccinated Americans around the country will experience serious case surges while areas with high vaccine rates will be little effected.
Nationwide, cases and deaths are still much lower now than they were during massive surges in Summer 2020 and during the last holiday season, though they are ticking upwards.
Over the past month, new daily cases nationwide have grown from 14,788 to 19,032 – a 28 percent increase.