It seemed as if the U.S. were close to nearly eliminating COVID-19. Daily cases dropped into the thousands several weeks ago. Fatal case dropped into the low 100s. That has changed quickly for the worse, as a new variant called “Delta” has raced across America, particularly in regions where the vaccination rates are low.
Many people forget how bad the COVID-19 pandemic was in America. The U.S. has 34,051,643 confirmed cases, which is 18% of the global number, and 613,088 deaths which is 15%. Vaccination is the primary factor the spread of the disease has slowed in America. Fifty-nine percent of the U.S. population 18 and older has been fully vaccinated. However, the figure varies widely by state, which is one reason the infection has started to spread quickly again. Vermont has 77% of its population fully vaccinated. The number in Mississippi where it is 34%.
The Delta variant causes over 50% of new cases in the U.S. today. It spread 50% more quickly than the first version of the virus in the U.S. At this point, it appears current vaccines are effective at cutting serious illnesses and deaths from Delta
One of the ways epidemiologists and public health officials track the severity of the disease is new cases and death per 100,000 people. This adjusts for population and allows for an apples-to-apples comparison. Today, the state with the highest new cases per resident over the last seven days is Arkansas at 34. That is up 114% in the last 14 days. Its vaccination rate, for people fully vaccinated is 34%.
The county in Arkansas that has been hit the hardest is Searcy County where the rate is 118 per 100,000 based on the last seven days. That is an increase of 190% over the last 14 days. The number of fully vaccinated people in the country numbers 27%. Searcy County has a population of 7,881. Of these almost 93% are White. The median household income is $36,438, roughly $30,000 below the national number. The poverty rate is 22.5% about double the national number.
If for some unexpected reason the vaccination rate rises quickly in Searcy County more people would almost certainly be saved from infection.