SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The delta variant continues to fuel a surge in new COVID-19 cases across the country. The U.S. passed another milestone – according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University, the number of Americans who've tested positive for coronavirus has now surpassed 40 million.
The daily infection rate is three times higher than it was at this time last year – and more than 102,000 Americans were hospitalized with the virus over Labor Day weekend.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the delta variant is now responsible for more than 99% of active COVID-19 cases. And despite guidance to limit travel during the holiday weekend, millions still took a trip.
It was a busy weekend in Scottsdale, a popular tourist destination for sure, but nationwide, more than 76,000 new cases were reported by the New York Times on Sept. 6 alone. That's triple the amount compared to Labor Day 2020.
More researchers are blaming the highly contagious delta variant and the growing number of Americans refusing to get vaccinated.
Travel confidence is also higher this year. Since Sept. 3, more than 7.3 million people passed through TSA checkpoints. That's 4 million more travelers compared to the same time last year.
The U.S. still leads the world in the most cases and deaths, but vaccination rates are slowly increasing. Nationwide, the CDC reports about 62% of Americans aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated.
Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington all have 60% or more of their populations vaccinated. But Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Wyoming have less than 40% of the population fully dosed.
Overwhelmed hospitals are still packed, putting a huge strain on resources. And most of the beds are occupied by unvaccinated Americans.
"Almost all of them are unvaccinated. Approximately 90% are unvaccinated, and of those, they're the ones who are in the ICU " said Dr. Robert Jansen, Grady Memorial Hospital's Chief Medical Officer.
On "FOX News Live," Dr. Marty Makary, a Johns Hopkins Medicine surgery professor, said, "Herd immunity does not apply to the ‘delta’ virus. It's coming after everybody who does not have immunity."
Health officials are urging Americans not to let their guard down and continue to get vaccinated and tested.
More COVID-19 updates
- Ivermectin poisoning calls have increased 163%, poison control centers report
- Ex-NBA star Cedric Ceballos reveals scary COVID battle: 'My fight is not done'
- Arizona AG: Tucson COVID-19 vaccine mandate violates state law
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
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