Vaccinations rise in some states with soaring infections
Vaccinations are beginning to rise in some states where COVID-19 cases are soaring, White House officials said Thursday, and hospitals are running out of space because of the delta variant, which is “spreading with incredible efficiency.”
Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters that several states with the highest proportions of new infections have seen residents get vaccinated at higher rates than the nation as a whole. Officials cited Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada as examples.
“The fourth surge is real, and the numbers are quite frightening at the moment,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on a New Orleans radio show. Edwards, a Democrat, added: “There’s no doubt that we are going in the wrong direction, and we’re going there in a hurry.”
Louisiana reported 2,843 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, a day after reporting 5,388 — the third-highest level since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations are up steeply in the last month, from 242 on June 19 to 913 in the latest report. Fifteen new deaths were reported Thursday.
Just 36% of Louisiana’s population is fully vaccinated, state health department data shows. Nationally, 56.3% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Aly Neel, a spokesperson for Louisiana’s health department, said the state has seen “a little bump” in vaccinations recently, adding that details would be available Friday. Warner Thomas, president and CEO of Ochsner Health, said the system had seen a 10% to 15% increase in people seeking vaccination over the past week or two.
In Missouri, which is second only to Arkansas and Louisiana in the number of new cases per capita over the past 14 days, officials have rolled out a vaccine incentive...