US Covid-19 cases hit new plateau as Delta variant rises

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
(Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • The Delta variant continues to gain traction in the US.
  • It will become the country's dominant strain as it already accounts for 35% sequences cases.
  • Nationally, 54 percent of the United States' 332 million people have received one or more doses of vaccinations.

After declining fast for two months, the rate of Covid-19 infections in the United States has levelled off since mid-June thanks to localised spikes in under-vaccinated regions of the country, data showed on Monday.

It comes as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to gain traction, now accounting for 35.6 percent of sequenced cases in the past two weeks, according to the covSpectrum tracker.

Authorities have said it is poised to soon become the country's dominant strain.

The seven-day-average of new daily cases has hovered at around 11 500 since 16 June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or about 3.5 per 100 000 people.

A clear divide has emerged across the country, with cases rising rapidly in communities that have low rates of vaccination.

For example, the city of Springfield in the midwestern state of Missouri is experiencing a surge of 36.8 new cases per 100 000, and has just 35 percent of its population vaccinated with one or more doses, a dashboard maintained by Covid ActNow showed.

On the other hand, Burlington in the northeastern state of Vermont is seeing just 0.9 new cases per 100 000, and has 71 percent of its population vaccinated with one or more doses.

Nationally, 54 percent of the United States' 332 million people have received one or more doses while 46.1 percent have had two doses, according to the CDC.

The national immunisation drive peaked in mid-April but has been declining since, with vaccine hesitancy much higher in states that lean Republican than those that predominantly vote for Democrats.

Cases dropped steeply across the country from mid-April to the beginning of June, a period that coincided with spring weather and increased socialisation outdoors.

The summer heat however has brought more people indoors, where the primarily airborne respiratory illness mostly spreads.

Air conditioning contributes by drying out the air and making conditions more favorable for the virus to remain viable.

All of this spells danger for unvaccinated people, who are more exposed than ever in the face of the highly contagious Delta variant.

According to research from Britain, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic disease from Delta, but just 33 percent after one dose.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1404 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 7752 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1607 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.