'Inured to death': Covid cases double as country faces 'fifth wave'

·2-min read

The Covid-19 curve in the US is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks.

The uptick is driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant, lagging vaccination rates in parts of the country and recent Fourth of July gatherings.

Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday (local time), up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Spectators gather in the Long Island City neighborhood ahead of Fourth of July festivities in New York this month. Source: Getty
Spectators gather in the Long Island City neighborhood ahead of Fourth of July festivities in New York this month. Source: Getty

And all but two states - Maine and South Dakota - reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks.

Australian economist at the University of Michigan, Justin Wolfers, said the roughly 250 daily deaths still linked to Covid-19 showed how the country has become "inured to death". 

The US has recorded 607,645 Covid deaths, the highest official death toll in the pandemic. 

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With life heading back to normal for some parts of the country, public health experts have linked to rise in cases to holiday gatherings.  

"It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend," said Dr Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University's School of Medicine in St Louis.

At the same time, parts of the US are running up against deep vaccine resistance while the highly contagious mutant version of the coronavirus that was first detected in India is accounting for an ever-larger share of infections.

About 55.6 per cent of people in the country have received at least one Covid-19 shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The five states with the biggest two-week jump in cases per capita all had lower vaccination rates: Missouri, 45.9 per cent; Arkansas, 43 per cent; Nevada, 50.9 per cent; Louisiana, 39.2 per cent; and Utah, 49.5 per cent.


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