August 1, 2021

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Covid deaths on the rise again in the U.S. after weeks of decline, CDC says – CNBC

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A nurse sanitizes her hands as she leaves a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient room in the ICU at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January 28, 2021.

Nick Oxford | Reuters

Deaths from the coronavirus are increasing again as the delta variant rips through unvaccinated pockets of the country, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

“After weeks of declines, seven-day average daily deaths have increased by 26% to 211 per day,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.

New cases are also on the rise, with a current seven-day average of 26,300 cases, according to the CDC. That is an increase of roughly 70% from the seven-day average last week.

The seven-day average for hospitalizations is now at 2,790, up about 36% from a week ago after weeks of decline.

Reflecting on the new numbers, Walensky said the pandemic has now become a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well,” Walensky said.

Just four states accounted for more than 40% of all new cases in the past week. One in five cases occurred in Florida alone.

The five states with the highest case rates, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada, all had a higher rate of new vaccinations compared to the national average.

The U.S. is reporting an average of 530,000 daily vaccinations over the past week, according to the CDC. More than 3 million shots per day were being reported administered at peak levels in mid-April.

About 65% of Americans aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, CDC data shows, and 56.5% are fully vaccinated.

Walensky maintained that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still highly effective against the delta strain, though studies have shown decreased efficacy of the vaccines when up against the highly transmissible variant.

Israel’s Ministry of Health published preliminary findings that put the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine at preventing infection from the delta variant at 64%. The study also indicated similar efficacy in preventing severe disease from the virus variant after two doses. Some experts have criticized the study out of Israel, citing issues in Israel’s genomic surveillance.

Other studies from Public Health England and The Lancet put prevention rates for the delta variant after two doses of a Pfizer vaccine at much higher numbers. Walensky also cited numbers “exceeding 90%” in mRNA vaccine protection against hospitalization and death against the delta variant.

CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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