COVID Delta & New Lambda Variant Surge Across the U.S.

In Florida, on Sunday, UF Health in Jacksonville had 86 cases. At one point Monday, the number was 126, an increase of more than 40% in just one day. News outlets around the country covering local covid spikes,say the lack of vaccinations and the delta variant are to blame. With the state’s Covid-19 cases roughly doubling each week, Florida has become one of the country’s biggest hot spots for the latest surge fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, as well as vaccine skepticism.

Local doctors say the patients filling up their hospitals are almost all unvaccinated. Children who are too young for the approved COVID vaccines are among those ending up in Jacksonville hospitals, according to UF Health Jacksonville Associate Chair of Pediatric Medicine Dr. Mobeen Rathore. “We don’t know that the delta variant causes any disease that is any worse than the regular coronavirus,” Rathore said. “But it is much easier to infect others, so it spreads much more easily.”

 In Mississippi, a top public health official said Monday that the state is seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in July. “4th wave is here,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, wrote on Twitter. The Mississippi State Department of Health said 2,326 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Friday through Sunday. That is the largest three-day increase of cases reported in the state since February.

For doctors at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a rush of new Covid-19 cases and a dwindling availability of beds feels like the hospital is backsliding to the state of conditions it experienced in late 2020. The latest projections from the school’s college of public health suggests statewide Covid hospitalizations will triple in the next two weeks, which would mean a return to a chaotic period when staffing and resources were strained, elective operations were limited and it seemed like there was no end to the crisis in sight. Since January, 98% of people hospitalized because of COVID in Arkansas were unvaccinated. Their average age is 40.

Texas saw COVID-19 hospitalizations at Houston Methodist Hospital increase by 70 percent over the last week, including a large number of delta variant cases and the hospital’s first recorded case of the lambda mutation, the hospital said Monday. As of Monday morning, Methodist was treating 184 people for COVID-19, double the number recorded on July 1, CEO Marc Boom wrote in an email to hospital staff that was shared with the Chronicle. At least one hospitalization was for the lambda variant, the first such case at Methodist.

 The state of Oregon reported 2,026 new coronavirus cases and 29 COVID-19 deaths in the past week, according to data released Monday. That’s a 54% increase from the previous week. But cases remain significantly lower than during much of the pandemic. 21,268 people have been newly vaccinated with a first dose in the past week, according to state data.   Los Angeles County is currently recording more than 10,000 coronavirus cases a week — a pace not seen since March — an alarming sign of the dangers the Delta variant poses to people who have not been vaccinated and heightening pressure on health officials to reverse the trend. A Los Angeles Times data analysis found L.A. County was recording 101 weekly coronavirus cases for every 100,000 residents, up from 12 for the seven-day period that ended June 15. That means the county has surpassed the threshold to have “high” community transmission of the disease, the worst tier as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A region must hit 100 or more weekly cases per 100,000 residents to enter the worst tier.  (BlackDoctor.org by Jade Curtis)