The delta-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated Americans continues to overwhelm states and health care systems across the country, with Florida and Louisiana experiencing some of the worst tolls.
Nearly one in five new cases reported in the US each day is in the state of Florida—the third-most populous state in the country and one with below-average vaccination rates. On Friday, the Sunshine State reported 21,683 new cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the state’s highest daily total of new cases in the course of the entire pandemic (aside from a reporting anomaly on January 2). And the state is now nearing its all-time record for current hospitalizations. As of Monday, at least 10,682 people in Florida are hospitalized with COVID-19. The counties with some of the highest rates of infection have some of the lowest rates of vaccination, including Baker county with just 21 percent of residents fully vaccinated.
Louisiana, meanwhile, is claiming the title for the state with the highest rates of infection in the country. The Pelican State, which is a little over a quarter of the size of Florida, has a case rate of 89 new daily cases per 100,000 statewide. That’s above Florida’s current average rate of 74 new cases a day per 100,000. Louisiana is reporting an average of around 4,000 cases per day currently. Every county in the state is considered to have a high rate of transmission by the CDC’s definition. Louisiana overall has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country overall, with just 37 percent of the state fully vaccinated. Some of the counties with the highest case rates have vaccination rates as low as 26 percent.
Vaccines and masks are both needed to lower transmission, US officials stress.