Hospitalization rates in those bottom 10 states are nearly four times higher, and death rates are more than 5.5 times higher than in the top 10 states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
Nearly 93% of the US population lives in an area with high Covid-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We continue to see a rise in cases driven by the more transmissible Delta variant with cases concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates,” Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Wednesday at a virtual Covid-19 briefing. “So this remains a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
The 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates are Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, Idaho, Louisiana, Arkansas, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and North Dakota. Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services shows an average of 39 people hospitalized with Covid-19 for every 100,000 residents in those states, compared to 10 for every 100,000 in the top 10 vaccinated states.
The top states with high vaccination rates are Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Washington and New York.
In the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, there is an average of about 34 deaths per 1 million residents, and in states with the highest, the average is six deaths per 1 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky said at the news conference that the country is averaging about 500 Covid-19 deaths a day — deaths that “remain largely preventable.”
“In areas with low vaccination coverage, we continue to hear far too many heartbreaking stories of people who did not get vaccinated, only then to get severe Covid-19,” she said. “In these areas, the data are showing us that the more people who are in the hospital, and tragically, more people are dying of Covid-19.”
Child Covid-19 cases are steadily increasing as schools reopen
As Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in the US, a health expert is warning that an accompanying rise in cases among children, many of whom aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated, will only worsen as schools resume classes.
Hotez said the US is now at a “screaming level of virus transmission,” adding that to really interrupt the spread, 80 to 85% of the population will need to be vaccinated.
Boosters planned for adult mRNA vaccine recipients
That plan still depends on whether the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes boosters and whether the CDC’s immunization advisory committee recommends those boosters, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.
Under the plan, adult mRNA vaccine recipients would be eligible for a booster eight months after receiving their second dose, starting the week of September 20, Murthy said during the White House Covid-19 news conference.
The plan to authorize an mRNA booster comes as data suggests that protection against mild and moderate disease from the first two doses appears to decline over time, Murthy said.
He emphasized coronavirus vaccines still appear to be effective in protecting against severe Covid-19, hospitalization and death.
But, “we are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing (in protections against mild and moderate disease) will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death,” Murthy said.
As the Delta variant increased its grip in the US this summer, coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have jumped.
The US averaged more than 137,500 new daily cases over the past week — an average that is more than 11 times higher than it was two months ago, when the figure was nearing its lowest point of the year, according to Johns Hopkins University.
More than 88,300 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals Tuesday, nearly five times higher than two months ago, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And the US averaged 734 Covid-19 deaths a day over the past week, more than double the average seen two months ago, according to Johns Hopkins.
Thousands of students already quarantining
Many schools that have gone back to campus are already seeing the impact of the spread of the virus.
More than 3,000 students and employees have been quarantined in the New Orleans Public School District because of Covid-19 cases in the past week, according to the district’s latest tally.
They represent 5.89% of the students and teachers in the district.
Students returned to the New Orleans Public School District on August 12 and are required to wear masks in school facilities, according to the district.
Among the state’s 15 largest school districts, at least 4,641 students and 1,547 employees have tested positive for coronavirus and at least another 19,072 students and staff members have been quarantined or isolated because of Covid-19.
The tallies do not include any cases from the two biggest school districts in Florida — Miami-Dade and Broward. Miami-Dade begins classes August 23. Broward started Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Florida’s State Board of Education voted unanimously to recommend investigations into the Broward and Alachua districts over their requirements for mask-wearing in school.
In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey said the state would use federal Covid relief money to increase the funding available to public school districts only if they’re open for in-person learning and don’t require children to wear masks.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a policy that requires everyone who works at an academic institution in the state to be vaccinated by October 18.
“We won’t gamble with the health of our children, our educators and school staff, nor the health of the communities they serve,” Inslee said.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips, Rebekah Riess, Andy Rose, Mallory Simon, and Elizabeth Stuart contributed to this report.