The US is at risk of slipping backwards in its fight against COVID-19 as the Indian Delta variant has become the dominant strain and appears to be on track to make up every new case in New York City by next month.
The spread of the highly contagious strain, which originated in India, has already pushed new infections up to 26,306 nationwide, an increase of 69.3 percent on a seven-day moving average compared to one week earlier.
Nearly every state witnessed a rise in infections in the last week and CDC data shows the Delta variant is responsible for about 60 percent of these cases.
CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky warned that the current outbreak is becoming ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as most cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among people yet to take the shot while the nation’s vaccination rollout has stalled.
Fears are now mounting that the worst is yet to come as America looks to the United Kingdom, which is several weeks ahead in its battle against the Delta variant and is grappling with daily infections doubling within the space of a week.
Based on the rate with which the strain became dominant in the UK, then made up 100 percent of cases and set off a dramatic spike in cases and deaths, the US may well be just weeks away from reaching a similar crisis point.
New York City, which last year was the virus epicenter of the world, could see cases accelerate six-fold and deaths multiply by seven between now and the end of August if the spread of the variant mirrors that on the other side of the pond.
As the Indian Delta variant has taken over the U.K., its COVID cases have spiked. In New York, the Delta variant now has taken over, too. If the city follows the same path as the U.K., this chart shows the projected growth in the number of cases as of Aug. 14, when the strain looks set to comprise 100 percent of COVID cases in the city
Delta spread quickly throughout the UK and had become the dominant strain by May 21, when 60.6 percent of all new cases in the two weeks preceding it were identified as the B1.617.2 variant.
Just six weeks later, on the week ending July 2, 100 percent of all UK cases were the Delta variant.
New York City has a lag on the UK when it comes to the prevalence of the strain.
It became dominant by the week ending July 3, accounting for 69 percent of all new cases just as people jetted in and out of the city for the July 4 weekend.
This means if New York City follows the same pattern as the UK, the Big Apple is on track for the Delta strain to make up 100 percent of all new cases by August 14.
And this threatens to set off a new wave of the virus, just one month after New York state lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions in June.
The spread of the Delta variant sent cases and deaths surging once again in the UK and plunged the country into yet another lockdown.
In the six weeks between May 21 – when it became the dominant strain – and July 2 – when it accounted for 100 percent of new cases, COVID-19 infections surged a staggering 1,124 percent from 2,290 to 25,750.
As the number of U.K. cases shoots higher with the Indian Delta COVID variant taking hold, New York City cases also are beginning to move higher – and they threaten to spike just as the U.K.’s numbers have as the Delta variant becomes an increasing share of the city’s infections
Still, with vaccine rates high in both the U.K., deaths have not spiked higher even as COVID cases have; New Yorkers and Americans can hold onto some hope that deaths won’t spike, either, though in areas of the country with low vaccination rates, there is some worry
Deaths also almost quadrupled from 7 to 27 within the same timeframe, with the nation’s vaccine rollout credited with limiting the fatality rate.
Cases and deaths have continued to climb in the two weeks since, with daily infections more than doubling to 54,674 and another 41 people dying Saturday.
Hospitalizations also spiked 30.4 per cent to 740 on July 13 — the latest date data is available for and the highest number of daily admissions seen since March 2, when 834 patients were recorded.
In the last week alone, cases jumped by more than two thirds with the UK on track to pass 100,000 new daily infections in two weeks’ time and experts warning a new lockdown could be needed by September.
Based on the trends seen in the UK, New York City could be on track for a similar surge in cases and deaths over the coming weeks and months.
New York City, where there’s been a big vaccination drive, could see cases accelerate six-fold and deaths multiply by seven between now and the end of August if the spread of the variant mirrors that on the other side of the pond
If infections surge at the same rate between Delta becoming dominant and 100 percent saturating the city, the number of cases in the Big Apple could climb from 192 recorded on July 3 to around 2,158 on August 14 when the strain makes up all new cases.
By the end of August, cases could have reached around 4,338 – more than six times the 640 recorded on July 14, when the last data is available for.
Deaths are also likely to spike from 5 on July 3 to around 19 on August 14 and 34 by the end of August, as the rate of fatalities accelerates.
New York may, however, have a head start in its fight against the more contagious strain as it reached US soil later than the UK – meaning more Americans may be fully vaccinated before it reaches saturation point.
With cases doubling every two weeks, this means the U.S. could see 50,000 cases per day by the end of July and 100,000 per day at the end of the month
The UK has been racing to beat the spread of the strain by vaccinating as many people aged 18 and over as possible while the US has approved the vaccine for anyone aged 12 and over.
Currently, the UK and New York City are roughly on a par when it comes to the vaccine rollout, with 53 percent and 49 percent of the populations fully vaccinated, respectively.
The next six weeks will then be crucial to ramping up the vaccination rates in the Big Apple to protect New Yorkers from the dominant strain as it takes hold.
But, the vaccine rollout in the US has stalled nationwide and the states with the lowest rates of inoculation are among those seeing the biggest resurgence of the virus.
The White House said Friday that Florida accounted for one in five new cases of COVID-19 this week.
There is also some uncertainty around how effective the vaccines are against the more contagious Delta variant.
A new report from Israel on Friday found the Pfizer two-dose vaccine is ‘weaker’ against the strain than hoped, providing 64 percent protection against infection from the variant as of June 6.
Israel once led the entire world in the vaccine race, vaccinating 61 percent of its population with Pfizer but now the country is dealing with a surge in cases driven by the Delta variant.
Nearly every state and the District of Columbia have seen infections rise in the last week
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 83 percent from 1,029 per day to 1,892 per day in the last two weeks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with 46 percent of residents having received received at least one dose, and 40 percent fully vaccinated.
Comparatively, 55.8 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 48.3 percent are fully vaccinated.
Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently admitted that the federal health agency is more concerned about Missouri than any other state
‘When I look at the map Missouri actually jumps out as the place that I’m most worried about because there’s a lot of cases now happening very rapidly,’ he told McClatchy.
‘The chances of getting infected in Missouri are getting really high and that means potentially serious illness or even death.’
The outbreak is being driven by the Delta variant, which makes up more than 97 percent of cases in the state, especially spreading like wildfire in the southwest.
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases risen by 83% from 1,029 per day to 1,892 per day in the last two weeks
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 515 per day two weeks ago to 1,444 per day on Thursday, a 185% increase
In Louisiana, COVID-19 cases have risen by 466% from 299 per to 1,695 per day over the last 14 days
In Springfield, the two hospitals, CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield, are currently treating more COVID-19 patients now than at any time during the pandemic.
CoxHealth says 16 patients have died in the last week alone. .
‘We went from virtually zero patients to about 100-plus in about seven months in the first couple waves, and in this wave we went from, at least at Cox, about 14 patients seven weeks ago to about 130 today,’ CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards said at a news conference on Wednesday.
‘So the ramp up time has been accelerated, almost triple.’
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 515 per day two weeks ago to 1,444 per day on Thursday, a 185 percent increase, the DailyMail.com analysis found.
Only 35.1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated as infection double every 10 day according to Dr Cam Patterson, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson (R) has been pleading with residents to get vaccinated and has attended community events across the state in an attempt to boost vaccination rates.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas said he believes mask mandate should be reinstated due to the surge of cases.
‘Yeah it was a bad idea,’ Michael John Gray told KATV in reference to a March law that restricts the return of mask mandates.
‘I don’t like it, I don’t like things shut down, I don’t like capacity, but if that’s what we have to do to make sure we’re all year this time next year.’
In nearby Louisiana, cases have risen by 466 percent from 299 per to 1,695 per day over the last 14 days.
Dr Frank Courmier, the medical director for pulmonary and critical services at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, told CNN that the COVID-19 patients admitted to his hospital are in their 30s and 40s, much younger than in previous waves.
‘We’re getting people in their third and fourth decades, otherwise healthy with no real preexisting conditions coming in, unvaccinated and very sick, very fast,’ he said. ‘We see almost no vaccinated patients.’
Louisiana has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates of the country with about 36 percent fully vaccinated, CDC data show.
The low rate shows. In a release on Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Health revealed that 94 percent of the state’s 19,200 cases in May were among people who did not complete their vaccine series.
The data are very clear,’ said Dr Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s State Health Officer, in the release.
‘COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people in Louisiana are surging. COVID-19 hospitalizations, percent positivity and COVID-19 outbreaks are all on the rise.
‘All people in Louisiana, especially those who are not yet vaccinated, should know they are now at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to the more transmissible Delta variant, and they should consider their personal risk and their family’s risk.’
Meanwhile, the White House said on Friday that Florida has accounted for one in five new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. over the last week.
According to data from the CDC, there were 7,011 new cases reported on July 14 with the seven-day rolling average currently sitting at 5,621.
Despite the growing number of cases, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis vowed not to enact any mandates or orders.
‘No mandates for anything, these are individual choices,’ DeSantis said at a press conference on Tuesday.
‘I made comments at the end of April or beginning of May, I said “Look, this is a seasonal pattern” We knew it was going to be low in May and it was low, and we knew when we got to the end of June, July, it was going to go up, and it was because that’s what it did last year and it’s not unique just to Florida.’
Israel once led the entire world in the vaccine race, vaccinating 61% of its population with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but now the country is dealing with a surge in cases
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is ‘weaker’ against the Indian ‘Delta’ variant than health officials had hoped, a new report from Israel says.
On Friday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a discussion about the coronavirus with his Cabinet at the Kirya in Tel Aviv.
Israel once led the entire world in the vaccine race, vaccinating 61 percent of its population with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but now the country is dealing with a surge in cases.
As of June 6, the vaccine provides 64 percent protection against infection from the variant, according to the Israeli government
At the moment, there is an idea that is spreading to the effect that the protective ability of the existing vaccines against the Delta mutation is weaker than what we had hoped,’ Bennett said.
‘We do not know exactly to what degree the vaccine helps, but it is significantly less. We are all hoping to see a slowdown but the facts at the moment are that there is no slowdown, not here and not in the world.’