As the Delta variant decimated Florida and other areas with poorer vaccination rates, daily new COVID-19 cases have surged to a six-month high in the United States, with more over 100,000 illnesses confirmed countrywide. According to Reuters statistics through Wednesday, the seven-day average of new reported cases hit over 95,000, a five-fold surge in less than a month.
Florida, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, which have among the lowest COVID-19 immunisation rates, account for half of the country’s new cases and hospitalizations in the last week, according to White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. County Judge Lina Hidalgo wrote on Twitter, “We’re seeing terrifying #COVID19 trends in our hospitals. At this point if you’re unvaccinated by choice, you’re complicit in this crisis.”
With 12,373 beds occupied by COVID-19 patients on Thursday, Florida, which has emerged as a hotspot of new infections, set yet another terrible hospitalisation record. In Florida, more children are hospitalised with the virus than in any other state in the US. According to a Reuters analysis, Louisiana and Arkansas are also dealing with record or near-record levels of coronavirus patients occupying beds. In other news, Virginia became the third state, after California and New York, to require all state employees to get immunizations or undergo weekly testing. In New Jersey, vaccinations are only needed for certain government employees.