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Despite Increase in Vaccinations, COVID-19 Continues to Surge in US

More Americans are getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, but the virus is continuing to surge.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the United States had administered 365,767,674 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 202,961,676 people having received at least one dose and 172,171,009 people fully vaccinated.The data, released Thursday morning, showed 61.1% of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 51.9% fully vaccinated; 71.5% of U.S. residents 12 and older had received at least one shot, while 60.7% were fully vaccinated. Among adults 18 and older, 73.5% had received one shot, while 62.8% were fully vaccinated.U.S. residents over 65 represented the most highly vaccinated demographic, with 91.7% having one shot and 81.4% fully vaccinated. The CDC said 434,582,185 total doses of vaccine had been distributed throughout the country.Despite the vaccines, several U.S. states are reporting more COVID-19 patients in hospitals than at any other time during the pandemic, with Texas and Kentucky joining the growing list.Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi and Oregon have all reported record hospitalizations.Worse than a year ago”The numbers now … are actually in many ways worse than last August,” Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, told CNN on Wednesday. “Last August, we had a fully susceptible population, [and] we didn’t have a vaccine. Now, we have half the country vaccinated … but nonetheless, the numbers are worse.”The delta variant is one big game-changer,” he said.One hospital system in Texas is reporting a record number of children being hospitalized, as well as a record number of cases.”We have reached new records in the delta surge,” Dr. Jim Versalovic, interim pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, told CNN.”We had reached a high over 900 cases in one week, in early January of 2021. That was our winter surge peak. We have now exceeded 1,300 cases in one week.”Deaths from the virus are running at more than 1,100 per day nationwide, which is the highest since mid-March.In response to the surging virus, Illinois became the latest state to force health care workers and educators to get vaccinated. It joined a growing number of states with similar mandates.Illinois is also bringing back indoor mask mandates.“Our current vaccination levels are not enough to blunt the ferocity of the delta variant hospitalization surges,” Governor J. B. Pritzker said at a Chicago news conference. “In some regions, hospital administrators are asking for more help to manage the sheer number of incoming patients who — I’ll emphasize again — are almost exclusively individuals who have chosen not to have gotten the lifesaving vaccine.”Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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