More than 66 million Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — but cases and hospitalizations continue to climb, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.
As of Friday, more than 112 million people across the US — or 33.7 percent of the population — have received at least one vaccine dose, while 66.2 million people — or 19.9 percent of the population — have been fully inoculated, data from the CDC shows.
That means “more than one-quarter of all adult Americans that are now fully vaccinated,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a virtual press briefing Friday.
But even as more and more Americans get jabbed, the pandemic still rages on.
The current seven-day average of new cases is up about 2 percent from the prior seven-day period — at over 64,000 per day, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the briefing.
Roughly 74,860 new coronavirus cases were reported in the US on Thursday, she added.
COVID-19-related hospital admissions are rising even more rapidly.
The seven-day average of nationwide hospitalizations climbed to about 5,300 — an increase of about 7 percent from the previous seven-day period, CDC data shows.
“On the one hand we have so much reason for optimism and hope and more Americans are being vaccinated and protected from COVID-19,” Walensky said. “On the other hand, cases and emergency room visits are up.”
The CDC director explained that the rise in cases is being driven by younger adults, “most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.”
Upticks in infections have been also been “magnified in some regions of the country like in the Upper Midwest,” she added.
In states like Michigan and Minnesota, there’s been an increasing number of virus cases linked to the highly contagious UK variant, known as B.1.1.7.
“Both of these states, there’s concerns about transmission in youth sports, both club sports as well as sports affiliated in schools,” Walensky explained.
“What’s happening in Minnesota and Michigan is similar to what we are seeing across the country — increasing reports of cases associated with youth sports.”
But, she added, “I want to be clear as cases increase in the community, we expect cases identified in schools will also increase. This is not necessarily indicative of school-based transmission.”
Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, the US is now averaging 3 million vaccinations per day, up from 2.9 million last week, Zients said.
A total of more than 28 million vaccine shots were delivered to states, tribes and territories through federal channels this week alone, he noted.
That’s “more than enough supply to maintain and increase our current seven-day average of 3 million shots per day,” Zients insisted.
But as a way to combat the unwelcome uptick in cases, the federal government will prioritize and boost resources to hard-hit states.
The feds will work with states “to make sure they are using all of the doses they have received,” Zients said.
“Today millions of doses have been distributed, but have not yet been administered as shots in arms.”
Additionally, the feds will “surge” personnel, including CDC response teams, to those states “to support vaccination efforts and get more shots in arms,” boost testing capacity, and offer more “therapeutics and treatments,” the White House coronavirus response coordinator said.
“We’re working to put this pandemic behind us as fast as we can,” said Zients. “All of us need to keep up our guard and finish this job.”
COVID-19-related deaths in the US continue to decline, with a current seven-day average of 711, according to CDC data.