US hits 100,00 COVID cases, highest since before vaccine rollout

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The US had topped 100,000 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday — its highest daily total since before the vaccine rollout, federal data show.

This is the highest rate of infections nationwide since the winter wave, which at its peak saw over 250,000 cases per day in January. Cases leveled out in June at just around 11,000 per day, The Associated Press reported.

It had taken the US nine months from the outbreak to reach 100,000 daily cases in November.

Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing — but still remain far below the pre-vaccine peak in January, when over 120,000 were hospitalized. More than 44,000 Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19, according to the latest data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That represents a 40 percent increase in one week and a 400 percent increase since June, the data show.

Nearly 500 people are dying related to the virus a day, according to weekly averages as of Friday. That’s up from 270 deaths two weeks ago, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths peaked at 3,5000 per day in January.

Cases and hospitalizations have seen the most significant increases in South, particularly in Florida, where over 135,000 residents tested positive for the virus in the last week. That averages to nearly 20,000 per day, accounting for 20 percent of the nation’s new cases.

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky now represent 41 percent of the nation’s new hospitalizations, according to the CDC.

Florida’s hospitalizations also reached their highest point in the pandemic this week, with more than 12,864 confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services reported. That’s a daily average of 1,837 hospitalizations per day.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged not to shut down businesses or impose a new mask mandate last week, predicting that the current spike is a seasonal outbreak — and adding that lockdowns “have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic.”

The governor, who has encouraged residents to get the vaccine, has also passed legislation banning local K-12 school districts from requiring masks for students and staff.

DeSantis has traded verbal blows with President Joe Biden all week over the handling of the virus.

With Post wires

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