In another alarming reminder of how the Delta variant has shifted the realities of the pandemic, COVID hospitalizations in the United States passed the 100,000 mark on Wednesday for the first time since January, when several thousand Americans were dying every day of the coronavirus.
According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services,
there are now 100,059 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19, the most since January 29. That number has nearly doubled in the month of August as the Delta variant has swept through the nation. The outbreak has been particularly gruesome in the Southeast, where Alabama ran out of intensive-care unit beds last week and Arkansas has no more capacity for coronavirus patients in its ICUs.
While the more contagious strain has impacted the vaccines’ ability to stop transmission, the shots remain extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death. According to a Centers for Disease Control report published on Tuesday, unvaccinated Americans are almost 30 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID. Because of the Delta wave — and subsequent employer mandates — vaccination rates have risen throughout August. Nevertheless, just a little over 60 percent of eligible Americans have received the shot.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, deaths have lagged behind hospitalizations by roughly two weeks, suggesting that the casualty count from the current wave will continue to get worse before Delta subsides in the U.S. Last weekend, the seven-day average of coronavirus deaths surpassed 1,000 for the first time since March, nearly doubling over the previous week.