COVID cases are surging across the U.S., even in states that have high vaccination rates, as the highly contagious Delta variant infects more people.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University and analyzed by USA Today, the U.S. reported an average of 19,455 new COVID-19 cases per day on Tuesday over the last seven days. This was an increase of 47.5% from the previous week, the news outlet said.

As many as 43 states have reported an increase in COVID cases from the previous week, including the states of New York, Vermont, and California, which have all vaccinated at least 62% of their adult residents, The New York Post reported.

According to NPR, states such as Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma, have all doubled their numbers of new COVID infections compared to the month of June.

Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told NPR, “The emergence of the Delta variant is going to mean for those areas with low rates of vaccination that they’re very much at risk to see significant increases in transmission, with potentially even exponential growth.”

While positive cases of the virus are increasing, COVID deaths continue to decline. They are down 25% to an average of 154 deaths during the most recent seven days, a decrease from 205 deaths the previous week. However, hospitalizations are on the rise, up to 2,507 for the seven-day average ending Sunday, from 1,996 a week earlier, the CDC said.

The CDC has reported that 58.8% of American adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, accounting for over 152 million people. But inoculations have slowed, and the number of vaccinations administered each day has dropped from a 3 million seven-day average in April to about 420,000 as of July 7, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The slowdown in vaccination rates has led to some parts of the country, especially the South, experiencing low vaccination numbers and high COVID infection rates.

Ajay Sethi, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the Journal, “The vaccine rollout has always been a race against the variants. The Delta variant is the most infectious yet, and there are areas of the country where too many people have not yet gotten vaccinated and wrongly believe that the pandemic is over.”

3M_Face_mask Minnesota-based company 3M makes face masks to protect many healthcare workers against the coronavirus. Photo: DFID/Flickr