Coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. are continuing to fall to record-low levels even as the Indian ‘Delta’ variant spreads throughout the country.
On Sunday, the U.S. reported 3,892 infections of COVID-19, the lowest number since March 19, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
What’s more, the seven-day rolling average currently sits at 11,020, a 45 percent drop from the seven-day average reported three weeks ago.
COVID-19 deaths are also declining with 85 recorded on Sunday, the first time since the start of the pandemic that fewer than 100 fatalities have been reported in a single day.
The seven-day rolling average currently stands at 216, the lowest since since March 28 and a 66 percent drop the from the average three weeks prior.
Health experts say the improving numbers are because of COVID-19 vaccinations, with 65.4 percent of American adults receiving at least one dose and 55.8 percent fully vaccinated.
However, the Delta variant is spreading at rapid rates throughout Midwestern states including Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, which experts say could threaten to undo the progress the U.S. has made at reigning in the pandemic.
On Sunday, the U.S. reported 3,892 infections of COVID-19, the lowest number since March 19 and 45% drop in the seven-day rolling average
COVID-19 deaths are also declining with 85 recorded on Sunday, marking more than a year since fewer than 100 were recorded, a 66% drop from three weeks prior
Experts are seeing an uptick in infections linked to the Indian ‘Delta’ coronavirus variant, B.1.617.2, and particularly in Midwestern states
As of Monday, the Delta variant makes up 10 percent of all cases in America – but it only made up six percent last week, meaning the prevalence almost doubled in just seven days.
Known as B.1.617.2, it has been labeled as a ‘double mutant’ by India’s Health Ministry because it carries two mutations: L452R and E484Q.
L452R is the same mutation seen with the California homegrown variant and E484Q is similar to the mutation seen in the Brazilian and South African variants.
Both of the mutations occur on key parts of the virus that allows it to enter and infect human cells.
On Wednesday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services released an advisory that the state ‘is experiencing a rise in individuals contracting the Delta variant’ and that it ‘has become prevalent’ throughout Missouri.
Missouri has the highest prevalence of the variant which makes up 6.8 percent of cases in the state as of May 22, CDC data show.
Current estimates suggest the prevalence could be as high as 23 percent.
In Greene County – 150 miles south of Kansas City- 90 percent of cases are linked to the Delta variant, an increase from 70 percent in mid-May.
‘It shows us that what we’ve got in the community is a much more infectious variant that we are having to deal with, which shows why we have such an explosion of cases..in southwest Missouri,’ Kendra Findley, administrator of community health and epidemiology with Greene County, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, cases of the Delta variant appear to be tracking with the national average.
Southwestern Missouri is experiencing a surge in cases with one country saying that the variant accounts for 90% of cases
In Kansas, cases of the Delta variant appear to be tracking with the national average, making up about 10% of all coronavirus cases
About 19% of variant cases have been hospitalized in Minnesota, which doctors say is higher than the general hospitalization rate
‘The CDC estimates Delta accounts for about 10 percent of new cases [in Kansas],’ Amanda Cackler, director of quality and safety at the University of Kansas Health System told KMBC.
‘We have had and continue to have deaths of patients who have had COVID-19. Our most recent one was on the 12th of June.’
In nearby Minnesota, only 47 cases of the variant have been confirmed, but hospitalization rates are rapidly rising, suggesting the strain in far more widespread.
The Delta cases that we have seen in Minnesota, about 19 percent have been hospitalized, which is higher than the hospitalization rate that we see in general associated with COVID,’ Kris Ehresmann, director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology for the Minnesota Department of Health, told KAAL-TV.
‘What’s concerning about the variants is their increased transmissibility. They are more readily spread from person to person.’
Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that unvaccinated Americans are at the greater risk of this more dangerous variant.
‘When you do look at those estimates, you see it varies widely between states. So Connecticut, for example, where I am, shows no upsurge of infection, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri show very substantial upsurges of infections,’ he said.
‘That’s based entirely on how much population-wide immunity you have based on vaccination.’
Daily vaccination rates fall from more than three million per day to about one million per day now
In the U.S., 53.3% of the total population has had at least one dose of the vaccine and 45.1% are fully vaccinated
A recent study from Public Health England that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96 percent effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant after two doses and that the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine in 92 percent effective.
In the U.S., 53.3 percent of the total population has had at least one dose of the vaccine and 45.1 percent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Biden has set a goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of adults with one dose by July 4, which it looks like will not be hit.
Gottlieb said that U.S. government needs to develop new vaccine strategies as daily rates fall from more than three million per day to about one million per day now.
‘We need to think about a different vaccine delivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites,’ he said Sunday on ‘Face the Nation.’
He elaborated on this by saying that the administration should focus on a 2.0 vaccination campaign, with doses being sent to community sites such as doctors’ offices and schools, where vaccine hesistant people could get immunized through a ‘trusted intermediary.’