Jeff Zients, the coordinator for Coronavirus, told reporters that residents in several states where there are high levels of new infections received vaccinations at higher rates than the rest of the country. As examples, officials cited Arkansas and Nevada, Florida, Louisiana and Missouri as well as Nevada.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated that "The fourth surge" is real and that the numbers are very frightening. John Bel Edwards spoke on a New Orleans radio program. Edwards, a Democrat added, "There is no doubt that our direction is wrong, and we're moving there in a hurry."
On Thursday, Louisiana reported 2,843 COVID-19 new cases. This is a day after it reported 5,388 cases -- the third highest level since the pandemic. Hospitalizations have increased sharply over the past month, going from 242 in June 19 to 913 in this latest report. Fifteen new deaths were reported Thursday.
According to data from the state health department, only 36% of Louisiana's residents are fully vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56.3% have received at least one dose.
A spokesperson for Louisiana's Health Department, Aly Neel said that the state has seen a "little bump" in vaccinations, and added that more details would be available on Friday.
Warner Thomas, the president and CEO at the Ochsner Health System serving Louisiana and Mississippi, stated that the system has seen an increase of 10% to 15% in vaccination requests over the past week. It has provided vaccines at the New Orleans airport and churches as well as basketball games and at the mall.
Dr. Katherine Baumgarten is the director of infection prevention for the 40-hospital system. She said that the hospital has been hiring traveling nurses and that future projections indicate that its ICUs will be full at the current rate.
Dr. Catherine O'Neal is chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and an infectious diseases specialist. She said that the most alarming aspect of the surge was its speed. She said that the caseload has nearly tripled in the space of one week.
She said that the medical center had stopped accepting transfers from other hospitals to the state for coronavirus patients on Sunday because they did not have the capacity.
Missouri is second to Louisiana and Arkansas in new cases per capita, but officials have created a vaccine incentive program with $10,000 prizes for 900 lottery winners. This is about 10 percentage points less than the national average of people who have had at least one shot in Missouri.
The Springfield area's hospitals are experiencing strain due to the high number of patients and close to pandemic levels in their facilities.
"Younger, relatively ill and unvaccinated. Erik Frederick, Mercy Hospital Springfield's chief administrative officer, tweeted that this is how you should feel if you are in that category. He noted that 50% of COVID-19 patients are between 21 and 59 years old, and that only 2% of them have been vaccinated.
The southwest region of the state has seen a surge in vaccination rates for teens. This trend has now spread to Kansas City, Kansas, and Research Medical Center.
"Many of them don’t believe in COVID-19 at all." It's extremely frustrating. It is frustrating to help someone who doesn't believe the illness they have is real," Muhindura stated.
Dr. Jason Wilson is an emergency physician at Tampa General Hospital. He has also seen the increase in frustration. He has seen the median age of patients drop to the mid-40s unlike earlier pandemics when many patients were in their 70s.
"I spent a lot time this fall, and last summer saying, "We've got these things, these mitigation strategies until we get that vaccination. Wilson advised that you just keep going.
Initial optimism was high as patients declined. He said that things fell apart after that.
Conservative Utah reported Wednesday that nearly 300 people were hospitalized by the virus. This is the highest number of patients in five months. The capacity of intensive care units was 81.5%. Officials from the health department reiterated their appeals to residents to be vaccinated.
One of Arizona's largest hospital systems called for vaccinations after a spike in COVID-19 cases in a matter of weeks. Valleywise Health's Dr. Michael White stated that doctors had been treating patients with mild symptoms for a while, but this started to change two weeks ago. Patients are now acutely ill.
"This delta is at the moment it's honing in upon largely unvaccinated persons," Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious disease in the health policy section at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said.
It is now responsible for 83% of all coronavirus genetically identified in the United States. The predominant strain is found in all regions of the country, and it continues to spread with "incredible efficiency," Dr. Rochelle Wilensky, director of the CDC, stated to reporters at the White House.
She stated that the mutation was more severe and more transmissible and called it "one the most infectious respiratory viruses we are aware of."
She warned that "We are still at another pivotal point in this pandemic." "We must unite as one nation."
The CDC has not modified its guidelines that people who have been vaccinated do not need to wear masks. Atlanta Public Schools announced on Thursday that it will institute a "universal" mask-wearing policy in all schools in the Georgia system when fall classes start.
Only 18% of Atlanta's eligible students are fully vaccinated, and 58% have indicated that they plan to become fully vaccinated. Officials said that 58% of Atlanta's employees are currently vaccinated.
The school system stated in the statement that "Given our low vaccination rate and increasing community spread, it is appropriate that universal masking be used."
Arkansas Democratic legislators urged the Governor and Republicans in control of the Legislature to lift Arkansas' ban on mask-wearing at schools and local government offices.