WASHINGTON - The United States continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy.
The country is averaging over 32,000 new cases per day, a 66 percent jump from the previous week, and 145 percent higher than the rate from two weeks ago, CNN reported, citing data from Johns Hopkins University.
An average of 258 Americans died from COVID-19 each day this past week, up 13 percent from the rate of daily deaths the previous week.
Currently, about 25,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, a 26 percent increase from last week and a 50 percent increase from two weeks ago.
The surge came as the Delta variant is spreading rapidly across the country, becoming the predominant lineage in the United States.
The proportion of cases attributed to Delta is predicted to increase to 57.6 percent, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Meanwhile, the pace of vaccinations in the United States has dropped sharply in the past few months. Twelve states have yet to vaccinate 40 percent of their population, CDC data show.
About 48.6 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 56.1 percent of the population has received at least one shot as of Monday, according to CDC data.
More than 97 percent of people getting hospitalized with COVID-19 now are unvaccinated, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
About 99.5 percent of deaths are among the unvaccinated, said US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday.
Getting people vaccinated as quickly as possible "is our fastest, most effective way out of this pandemic". Murthy said.
On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended universal masking in schools for everyone over 2 years of age, regardless of vaccination status.
"AAP recommends universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated," the AAP said in a release.
Experts have stressed that an important reason adults should get vaccinated is to protect children who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.