With the U.S. reporting record levels of COVID cases as the Delta variant surges its way across the nation, medical experts aren’t sure the virus will ever be fully eradicated.

New data from Johns Hopkins University indicated that at least 620,226 new positive cases of the virus were reported in the last week, representing one new COVID case every second in the U.S., as reported by USA Today.

This marks the highest number of new coronavirus cases recorded since Feb. 14 and the worst since the country was reporting nearly three cases every second on average back in mid-January, USA Today said.

But with less than half of the country’s population fully vaccinated and COVID cases on the rise again, experts aren’t so sure with the onset of the highly contagious Delta variant that it is possible to completely prevent the spread of the virus.

However, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN on Tuesday, “we could still get to a place where this becomes a nuisance instead of a threat to your life.”

CNN has predicted through its own data analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data that at the current pace of vaccination it would take until mid-February 2022 to get at least one dose of the COVID vaccine to the 90 million Americans who are still unvaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is hopeful that the vaccination gap can be filled. He told CNN on Tuesday that he would like the U.S. to reach one million vaccinations a day to close the gap.

“We may get there when mandates come, but it can't be 250,000, 500,000 a day, otherwise it's going to go well into the winter. I want to get there sooner,” he added.

But the Delta variant is creating a cause for alarm as hospitals are filling up. More than 50,000 beds are occupied with COVID patients – more than triple what it was a month ago, former Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told the Washington Post on Tuesday.

"We are not crying wolf here. This surge that we're going through right now has every potential to be -- and already looks to be -- the worst surge we've faced so far," Adams said.

Vaccine hesitancy is compounding the issue. But a recent poll released Tuesday from Axios-Ipsos showed a drop in the number of Americans who are not at all likely to get the COVID vaccine.

According to the poll, 15% of Americans said they are not at all likely to get the vaccine, down from 20% two months ago. The shift may be attributed to the recent spike in Delta variant cases across the U.S., which make up more than 90% of new COVID cases.

The poll also suggested that three in four Americans (78%) are concerned about the new Delta variant, with 52% of respondents believing that returning to pre-COVID activities is now too risky, Axios-Ipsos said.

According to the CDC, 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, accounting for 49.7% of the U.S. population.

Proponents of a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments argue it would boost access in developing countries Proponents of a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments argue it would boost access in developing countries Photo: AFP / Luis ACOSTA