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COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are increasing again as the very contagious BA.5 variant spreads across the country, with nearly 500 deaths reported each day.
After 2 months of daily death numbers rarely climbing above 400, the average has recently grown to about 450 deaths per day, according to NPR.
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and intensive care numbers have also risen in recent weeks, reaching the highest points of the summer.
Although most people aren’t getting a severe disease, some are “still getting quite sick from it,” Ashish Jha, MD, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told NPR.
“If you look at who’s getting sick, who’s really ending up in the hospital, who’s ending up in the ICU, who’s dying — unfortunately, it’s people who are either not vaccinated or not up to date on their vaccines,” he said. “People who are not fully boosted, or double boosted if they’re older, people who have not gotten treatments. We have to continue working hard to make sure that Americans get vaccinated, get their immunity up, get treatments.”
More than 130,000 new coronavirus cases are being reported each day, according to the data tracker from The New York Times. All but a few states have seen steady increases during the past 2 weeks. Public health experts have said the official case tallies are considered a significant undercount because many people have chosen to use at-home tests or not test at all.
The BA.5 Omicron subvariant accounts for 82% of new cases in the U.S., according to the latest CDC data. Other Omicron subvariants make up the rest of the cases, with 13% from BA.4, 5% from BA.2.12.1, and less than 1% from BA.2.
Hospitalizations have been steadily increasing, with nearly 45,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About 4,800 patients are in intensive care units.
The trends vary across the country. In California, which is reporting the highest number of cases with nearly 20,000 per day, case counts are at the highest point in nearly 6 months, the Times reported. Georgia, which is reporting nearly 7,000 cases per day, has the most cases per 100,000 residents. Missouri has a test positivity of 37%.
In New York, more COVID-19 patients are hospitalized now than at the height of the Delta surge last year, the newspaper reported. Florida is reporting the highest number of deaths, with about 65 per day, and New Mexico is reporting the most deaths per 100,000 residents.
NPR: “COVID deaths are back up to nearly 500 a day.”
The New York Times: “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count, Updated July 28, 2022.”
CDC: “COVID Data Tracker: Variant Proportions,” updated July 26, 2022.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Hospital Utilization,” updated July 28, 2022.