July 29 (UPI) — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise as vaccination rates have stalled and the more infectious Delta variant has become more prevalent.
The seven-day moving average in daily cases reported Wednesday was 66,606, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The seven-day average in new hospital admissions from July 13-19 was 3,521, up 32.2% from the week prior, while the vaccination rates have risen by less than 1% in the past week.
Hospitalization rates are nearly three times higher in states that have fully vaccinated fewer than half of their residents, while case and death rates are nearly twice as high, according to analysis by CNN.
Data shows that the number of hospitalizations per 100,000 residents is 14.4 in states that have vaccinated less than half of residents versus 4.9 in states that have vaccinated more than half of residents.
Cases have risen at a rate of 23.7 per 100,000 in states with vaccination rates lower than 50% versus 9.3 in states above 50%, while and deaths rising at a rate of 129 per million in states lagging in vaccinations versus 55 per million in those with more than 50% vaccinated.
Vermont has the highest vaccination rate in the country with more than 67% of residents vaccinated and the current lowest hospitalization rate at less than 1 per 100,000, while Florida has the highest hospitalization rate at about 38 per 100,000 while less than 49% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.
Mayor Jerry Demings of Florida’s Orange County declared a state of emergency on Wednesday amid rising cases and hospitalizations and required county employees to get their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 31 or face discipline including possible termination.
Demings also required employees and visitors to wear masks in county facilities and encouraged private businesses to require employees to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors.
South Carolina on Thursday reported 1,867 new COVID-19 cases, its highest total since Feb. 19, while 44% of people in the state are fully vaccinated.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday announced the state, where 36% of residents have been fully vaccinated, reported an increase of 160 hospitalizations, its largest single-day increase since March 2020.
Edwards recommended that everyone in the state get vaccinated and that people wear masks and remain 6 feet apart while indoors regardless of vaccination status.
“For anyone asking the question when will this end, the answer is simple: when we decide to do what it takes to end it,” he said. “The most impactful tools to make that happen are free and widely available — the three free safe and effective vaccines.”
President Joe Biden on Thursday called for states to offer a $100 incentive for any residents who get fully vaccinated and for employers to allow their workers paid time off to get the vaccine.