COVID-19 cases are up by nearly 70% over the past seven days due to huge spikes of cases in low vaccinated areas, Biden administration officials said Friday.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Rochelle Walensky, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a briefing Friday. “We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. Communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.”
The seven-day average of cases was 26,300 per day, an increase of nearly 70% from the last seven-day average, Walensky said.
Hospitalizations are also up to 2,790 per day, an increase of 36% from the previous seven-day period.
Deaths, a metric that has declined since prior surges earlier in the year, have also started to increase. The seven-day average increased by 26% to 211 per day, Walensky said.
“Our biggest concern is we are going to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated,” she said.
A major driver of the increases has been the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, but Walensky said that 97% of the patients hospitalized right now with the virus are unvaccinated.
The Biden administration is ramping up efforts to increase vaccinations in areas that have stubbornly low rates. The administration is sending more than 100 people to states to help enhance vaccine access and boost outreach efforts, said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, during the briefing.
States with the highest cases are starting to see their vaccination rates go up, Zients said.
“In the past week, the five states with the highest case rates had a higher rate of people getting newly vaccinated compared to the national average,” he added.
He added that so far the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have not recommended a booster shot for the fully vaccinated.
Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, MD, said Friday that the federal government is looking into evidence accumulated on a daily basis on the need for a booster.
“At this particular time right now, we don’t recommend that there be boosters for people,” Fauci said.