Aug. 17, 2021 -- For the first time since early February, the U.S. last week reported more than 900,000 COVID-19 cases, rising back to pre-vaccination levels, according to USA Today.

The U.S. now represents 20% of the COVID-19 cases being reported globally. The 7-day average is more than 140,000 new cases per day and increasing due to the ongoing spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

New cases rose about 17% in the past week. Hospitalizations climbed by about 15%, and deaths jumped nearly 24%.

Cases are on the rise in nearly all states, with 46 states reporting an increase in cases, USA Today reported. Five states -- Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oregon -- broke all-time records for cases last week, including community-level records in 32 Florida counties, four of the five Hawaii counties, 12 Louisiana parishes, 32 Mississippi counties, and 10 Oregon counties.

Florida is leading the nation in new COVID-19 cases, reporting nearly 30,000 per day, followed by Texas with about 15,000 new cases per day and California with more than 12,000 new cases per day, according to the latest data from The New York Times.

Per capita, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are facing the worst outbreaks in the country, according to a CNBC analysis. Louisiana recorded an average of 126 cases per 100,000 people as of Sunday, which is about three times the national average.

On Monday, seven of the country’s leading health associations called on governors to “set aside” politics and promote vaccination. The groups are the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, American Industrial Hygiene Association, and National Association of School Nurses.

“With the aggressive spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 across the country and hospitals once again becoming overwhelmed, proper precautions must be taken to reduce transmission, hospitalizations, and death,” they wrote in a letter.

The groups called for governors to require vaccines for health care and government employees, create mask mandates for indoor locations regardless of vaccination status, adopt mask rules for schools regardless of vaccination status, promote physical distancing, and encourage the public to limit large gatherings whenever possible.

“We know that COVID-19 has created significant fear and uncertainty. As the virus itself and our knowledge of it continue to evolve, we must update public health measures accordingly,” they wrote. “We must unify our efforts and implement these key strategies to turn the tide against the pandemic.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

USA Today: “Booming US cases account for one-firth the world total.”

The New York Times: “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count.”

CNBC: “‘We are on fire’: Five U.S. states set new records for Covid cases as hospitalizations rise.”

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology: “Coalition Letter to Governors, August 16, 2021.”

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