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Pandemic Shifts Epicenter Ahead of the Holiday

September 3, 2021  ||  by Matt Albasi

With the end-of-summer holiday around the corner, COVID-19 cases continue to increase for most of the country, but the epicenter of the outbreak is shifting. 

COVID Case Growth Continues 

This week saw 165,000 new cases per day, up from July’s low point of less than 15,000 daily cases. Sadly, hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase as well, although at lower levels than previous waves.

In good news: Vaccinations picked up steam in the wake of the official FDA approval last week. More than 800,000 shots per day were administered on average this week, up from July’s low of ≈500,000 shots per day. Nearly 53 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and 62 percent have received at least one shot.

Illness Grows Nationally

The country hasn’t been this sick since March 2020, although COVID isn’t entirely to blame. Since July 10, the number of people with a fever has increased more than 250 percent. That measure includes not only fevers due to COVID-19 but also other fever-causing illnesses such as RSV. 

Chart showing the percent of the population with a fever for the year of 2021. The metric has been increasing since about July

The Epicenter Moves North

South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky have the highest daily case averages when adjusted for population. This brings the current Delta hotspot further northeast from the earlier epicenter around Arkansas. The southeast (Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida), which had the highest number of COVID-19 cases by population last week, saw cases decrease on average.

Our goal in sharing this information is to empower you to make informed choices, especially this holiday weekend. If you’re headed to a Labor Day gathering, it is best to practice some tested COVID protocols: avoid large indoor events, and wear masks inside regardless of vaccine status.

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