Deaths Drop, but COVID-19 Cases Rise 10% Over Last Week

July 2, 2021 — After a steady period of decline, the daily average of new COVID-19 cases has started ticking upward, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said Thursday at a White House news briefing.

She said the CDC reported 14,875 new COVID cases on Wednesday and that the 7-day average is around 12,600 cases per day. That’s a 95% decrease in daily cases from the U.S. peak in early January, she said, but it’s a 10% increase over a week ago.

“We continue to see overall low numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” she said. “However, looking state by state and county by county, communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable. This is all true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible delta variant.”

She said about a quarter of sequenced U.S. cases are the delta variant. It may well become the dominant variant in coming weeks, and more delta cases are expected to turn up in areas with low vaccination rates, such as the 1,000 counties that have a vaccination rate of below 30%.

“As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I want to remind those who remain unvaccinated to protect themselves by wearing a mask and avoiding crowds to prevent transmission and illness,” Walensky said. “If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested. And, of course, please get vaccinated in one of the many places near you as soon as you can.”

Walensky cited encouraging statistics: The 7-day average of hospital admissions related to COVID is about 1,822 per day, a drop of 1% from the previous 7-day period. The daily average of COVID deaths is 257 over the last 7 days.

Vaccine hesitancy is still a problem for health officials, despite programs encouraging people to get shots. The United States has not reached President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4.

The CDC said that 66.7% of people 18 and over have at least one shot, with 57.7% fully vaccinated. Of all ages in the U.S., 54.6% have at least one shot and 47% are fully vaccinated.

More than 328 million vaccine doses have been given since the vaccination program started in mid-December, the CDC said.

The United States still has the most COVID-related cases and deaths among all nations — 33.6 million and 605,000, respectively.