The U.S. averaged more than 107,000 new COVID-19 cases a day for the first week of August, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center on Saturday.
For comparison, on June 7, the U.S. reported just more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The increase in coronavirus infections comes as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread quickly throughout the United States.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in an interview with CNN earlier this week that government data shows infections in the U.S. “could be up to several hundred thousand cases a day, similar to our surge in early January.”
After peaking at nearly 250,000 infections per day in early January, cases bottomed out in June, but began ramping up even as U.S. adults were being vaccinated. More than 70% of all U.S. adults have been at least partially vaccinated, AP reported.
The seven-day average for daily fatalities in the U.S. increased from about 270 a day to almost 500 a day over the past week as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins.
More than 166.2 million people, or 50.6% of the population, have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins’ vaccine tracker.
The southeast U.S. has some of the lowest vaccinations rates in the country, such as Alabama and Mississippi, in which fewer than 35% of residents are vaccinated, AP reported. The region also has seen the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increase 50%, to a daily average of 17,600 over the past week from 11,600 the previous week, according to the CDC, as reported by AP.
Florida, which last week was called the national epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic by the CDC, broke another record for the number of COVID-19 cases on Saturday.
The CDC said the state reported 23,903 new infections in a 24-hour period ending Friday. The figure is the largest single-day number of cases in Florida since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
A week before, on July 30, the state had set a record with 21,683 new cases.
The delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling the rise in cases in Florida and across the U.S.
In Houston, health officials are warning that COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
Texas health officials are concerned, chief state epidemiologist Jennifer Shuford told Houston Public Media.
"We’ve been living this pandemic now for a year and a half," she told the news organization. "We thought we had seen the worst of it with those first two pandemic waves that we experienced. This third wave that we’re having right now in Texas is showing a very steep increase in cases and hospitalizations, as great or even steeper than what we were seeing with those first two waves."
Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Harris County, where Houston is located, have increased nearly 262% over the past month, the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council reported on Thursday, according to Houston Public Media.
On Friday, there were 8,522 people in Texas hospitals with COVID-19, the most since February 11, the AP reported. In Harris County, the state’s largest with more than 4.5 million residents, nearly 1,700 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the Houston Public Media report.
Dr. David Persse, who is serving as the chief medical officer for the city of Houston, spoke to the AP about the latest increase in COVID-19 cases.
“The health care system right now is nearly at a breaking point. ... For the next three weeks or so, I see no relief on what’s happening in emergency departments,” he said.
Persse said some ambulances were waiting hours to offload patients at Houston area hospitals because no beds were available. He told AP that he feared this would lead to prolonged respond times to 911 medical calls.
In the U.S. Midwest, more than 98% of all new COVID-19 cases are from the delta variant, according to the CDC.
The Omaha Board of Education, which oversees the largest school district in Nebraska with 52,000 students, will discuss on Monday whether to require face coverings inside school and district buildings.
The Omaha Education Association, a union that represents teachers and staff, is concerned by the rise in delta variant cases and the state’s middling vaccination rate. The group had called on the district to require masks, according to an Omaha World-Herald report.
Of the state’s nearly 2 million residents, roughly half (49.9%) are fully vaccinated, similar to the U.S. figure of 50.6% announced, according to Johns Hopkins.
As of midday Saturday, there were more than 202 million infections and nearly 4.3 million deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins. The U.S. continued to lead the world in cases, with more than 35.7 million, and fatalities, with more than 616,000, according to Johns Hopkins.
Some material for this article came from The Associated Press and Reuters.