COVID-19 infections are on the rise in five U.S. states, and deaths are expected to rise in the following weeks.
As the ‘Delta’ strain spreads across the country, infection cases are up by 30%, with the highest concentrations in the South and Mountain West.
Infections from the virus have risen as high as 98 percent in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada in the last 14 days, and hospitalizations have risen as well.
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However, medical analyst Dr Jonathan Reiner from the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science told CNN that because deaths are a lagging signal, the states may see a ‘surprising amount of death’ in the coming weeks.
COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Missouri, making it the country’s COVID-19 hotspot.
After a huge influx of patients, Mercy Health Springfield, the largest hospital in southwest Missouri, was overwhelmed last week.
At some point during the weekend, the hospital ran out of ventilators.
In most situations, Dr Reiner told CNN, an increase in COVID-19 cases is followed by an increase in mortality rates three to four weeks later.
According to recent data, new cases in Missouri increased by 98 percent from an average of 822 per day two weeks ago to 1,631 on Sunday.
The Delta variant accounts for 97 percent of current cases in the state.
The same report suggested that new cases in Arkansas have increased by 47 percent from an average of 402 per day to 591 per day, indicating that the variation has decimated the state.
The Delta strain accounts for more than 70% of current cases in Arkansas.
Florida, which earlier defied the odds by maintaining low case rates despite COVID limitations, now appears to be on the cusp of an epidemic as well.
Over the last month, the number of cases has more than doubled, from 1,636 on June 11 to 3,392 on July 11 – a 107 percent rise.
Louisiana (up 92% in the last month) and Nevada (up 89%) have also experienced significant spikes in infections.
Over half of the populations in Nevada and Florida have been partly vaccinated against COVID-19.
While they are still far from achieving herd immunity – just 51% and 54% of the populations have been vaccinated, respectively – managing statewide outbreaks is easier now.
Louisiana, on the other hand, has struggled with vaccination implementation, with just 39% of residents receiving at least one shot – the second-lowest rate of any state.
Missouri, which has 46 percent of its people partly immunized, and Arkansas, which has 43 percent, both have low vaccination rates.
Vaccines are now widely and easily available, and virtually all COVID-19 deaths are ‘completely avoidable,’ according to Reiner.
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