After more than a year of pandemic-related lockdowns, social distancing and masking, life is feeling much more normal as Americans get ready to celebrate Independence Day. But Covid-19 still looms large.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the "hypertransmissible” delta variant could have caused the recent 10 percent increase in new Covid-19 cases in the country. The news comes as states have largely abandoned mask mandates and reopened their economies, and as several states trail on vaccinations. The CDC said the country’s lagging vaccination rate, which is likely to miss President Joe Biden’s July 4 goal of getting at least one shot into the arms of 70 percent of adults, has contributed to the uptick in cases.
Slowing vaccinations, increased cases and a fast-spreading variant are among the factors at play as the country heads into a holiday weekend.
Here’s a quick look at the current state of the pandemic in the United States.
The delta variant, first detected in India, now accounts for a quarter of all new cases in the U.S. The CDC said the strain is now in all 50 states and likely to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks.
Older adults were some of the most vulnerable to the coronavirus and among the first to be vaccinated. The vaccines are still under emergency authorization use, which excludes younger children.
Nationwide vaccinations have slowed from a peak in April, with many counties in the South vaccinating less than 40 percent of their populations.
CLARIFICATION (July 6, 2021, 1:01 p.m. ET): A previous version of a graphic described the rates of Covid-19 cases and deaths as "per capita." It has been updated to "per 100,000 population."