NEW DELHI: From just 4,000 daily cases two months ago to over 2 lakh this week, the US has witnessed a dramatic downturn in its Covid situation with the Delta variant spreading its tentacles across the country.
Filled to the brim in many states, hospitals are forced to turn away patients or treat them in hallways. Deaths have started surging again with the country witnessing 1,000 fatalities daily for the last four days.
Meanwhile, almost 38% of the population is yet to receive a single dose of the vaccine, stoking fears about how the pandemic will chart its course in the worst Covid-affected country.
Here are six charts that explain the Covid crisis in US …
The Covid situation in the US is worsening by the week, with the country witnessing a 12 per cent increase in daily new cases.
The 7-day moving average has breached the 1.5 lakh-mark again — the first in almost eight months when the US last witnessed a surge in case.
The current wave is fueled primarily by the highly contagious Delta variant, which was first detected in the country around March this year.
According to the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), Delta accounted for almost 96% of the total samples sent for sequencing by US in the last four weeks.
A year on, yet …
Until recently, many believed that the US had put the worst of the pandemic behind it, especially due to its large-scale vaccination programme.
But Delta variant, which is believed to be causing “breakthrough” infections, has put a spanner in the works.
Data published in the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s report on death and disease shows an increase in “breakthrough” infections among those who had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.
This means the ongoing phase of Delta-fueled pandemic is just as worse — or perhaps more — compared to the period when vaccines weren’t available.
Compared with last August, the US is now reporting nearly three times the daily infections.
While the cases this year have been significantly higher, mass vaccination has certainly reduced the proportionate number of deaths.
Compared to last August, US has reported over 3,000 fewer deaths despite having thrice the number of cases.
Globally, US is reporting the maximum new cases with 1.56 lakh infections on average every day. It is also the worst-hit nation with over 3.9 crore reported infections so far.
It is followed by India and Iran, which are reporting an average of 36,000 cases.
With Delta cases shooting up, hospitals in several states have been pushed to the brink.
The number of coronavirus patients in US hospitals has breached 100,000 again, the highest level in eight months.
Covid hospitalisations have more than doubled in the past month. Over the past week, more than 500 people with Covid were admitted to hospitals each hour on average, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Florida, which is the worst hit due to the Delta variant, mounting deaths have strained capacity at hospital morgues and funeral homes.
While Florida’s record levels of new cases and hospitalisations for the disease have levelled off over the past week, averages of daily reported deaths have continued to climb.
Hospitals in Florida have reported to the federal government that roughly 279 patients have died every day for the past week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, though that figure includes deaths suspected, but not yet confirmed to have been, from Covid-19. The figure just a month ago was 52 deaths per day.
Sick people lie on the floor in a medical facility in Jacksonville, Florida. (AP)
Vaccinations: A boon as well as worry
Data shows that the Delta variant is spreading largely among the unvaccinated population, with experts describing the ongoing surge as “pandemic of the unvaccinated”.
States like Mississippi, Florida, Louisana, where vaccination rates are comparatively lower, have been reporting higher number of cases as well as deaths.
On the other hand, states like Maine and Vermont — which have among the highest vaccination rates — are also reporting the lowest cases as well as deaths.
So while vaccinations are preventing deadlier outbreaks, the US faces a stiff challenge from those unwilling to take the jabs.
(With inputs from agencies)