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Posted: Jul 4, 2021 12:02 AM


Local officials are sounding the alarm over an increase in Covid-19 infections just as the nation prepares to celebrate a Fourth of July holiday that many hoped would mark the start of the resumption of normal life.

In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation, cases are surging, officials said. In Los Angeles County, where the vaccination rate is slightly above the national average, officials warned about a possible new wave of infections, especially given the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

"We are now going in the wrong direction yet again with Covid-19 infections here in the state of Arkansas," said Dr. Cam Patterson, chancellor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, during the state's weekly briefing Tuesday.

"With July 4th holiday coming up and eventually kids going back to school, we have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue. And if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of Covid-19 here in the state of Arkansas," he said.

More than 90% of active virus cases are people who have not been vaccinated, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during the briefing.

The state saw 988 Covid-19 deaths since late January, and 99.6% of those deaths were people who were not vaccinated, Hutchinson added. In the same time period, more than 98% of those hospitalized with Covid-19 were not vaccinated.

Arkansas has fully vaccinated 34.3% of its total population, federal data shows.

"The vaccine, as well as continued practicing of social distancing and masking when that is necessary, are our pathways out of a third surge of Covid-19," Patterson said.

Nationally, the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases has been going up for six straight days, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, the seven-day moving average of new cases -- just more than 12,700 per day -- was up 9.08% compared to the week prior.

"Looking state by state and county by county, it is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. "This is all true as we monitor the continued spread of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant."

Los Angeles County, where 59% of residents aged 16 and older are fully vacinated, on Thursday reported 506 new Covid-19 cases, the highest in a single day since mid-April, Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

The threat of another wave can be triggered by the 4 million people who have yet to get vaccinated, she warned.

"We have enough risk and enough unvaccinated people for Delta to pose a threat to our recovery and masking up now, could help prevent a resurgence in transmission," Ferrer said, pushing back against criticism about guidance to resume mask-wearing indoors.

The county is one of the first areas in the US to revisit its mask recommendation after California lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions last month. The new, voluntary mask guidance is needed until health officials can "better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading," the county's department of public health said.

Delta variant will make it harder to reach herd immunity

Two-thirds of adults in the US have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, CDC data shows. Over the past week, an average of 661,795 people became fully vaccinated daily.

But even as vaccinations continue, the Delta variant could make it harder for the US to reach herd immunity, Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine told CNN Friday.

"We don't exactly know what the herd immunity percentage would be for Covid-19. It would be different for the Delta variant, and higher, because it is more transmissible," Levine told CNN's Ana Cabrera.

The Delta variant, first seen in India, has now spread to all 50 states, and has accounted for more than 26% of cases as of June 19, according to the CDC's calculations.

People who are vaccinated are protected against the variant, Levine added, underscoring the fact that vaccinated individuals are "extremely unlikely to get sick" and that it would be "virtually impossible for them to require hospitalizations."

"For people who are unvaccinated, the Delta variant poses a threat," she said. "So in areas that have low vaccination rates, those communities and counties and states are vulnerable."

4th of July celebrations are OK. But first: Be careful and get vaccinated

Dr. Anthony Fauci offered a glimmer of good news ahead of the holiday: Americans can celebrate with the proper precautions, he said.

"That is, if you were vaccinated, you have a high degree of protection. If you are not, you should wear a mask, and you should think very seriously about getting vaccinated," said Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, echoed Fauci's advice.

"It's an appropriate time to step back and celebrate the progress we've made," Zients said during a briefing.

The holiday means that more people will be on the move.

In Chicago, Friday is expected to be the busiest day of travel at O'Hare and Midway International Airports since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the city's Department of Aviation. More than 220,000 passengers are expected to pass through O'Hare and 41,000 passengers at Midway on Friday, the department said in a statement.

Georgia's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also expected to see its busiest travel surges since the pandemic began, an airport spokesperson told CNN. During the period from Wednesday through Monday, the airport expects over 1.7 million passengers.

J&J vaccines protect against variants and don't need boosters, data shows

Johnson & Johnson said its one-shot coronavirus vaccine provides immunity that lasts at least eight months, and it appears to provide protection against the Delta variant.

"Current data for the eight months studied so far show that the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine generates a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane; rather, we observe an improvement over time," Dr. Mathai Mammen, head of research and development at J&J's Janssen vaccine arm, said in a statement.

The company said one dose elicits both a lasting antibody response and generates immune cells called T-cells that can last for that time period.

Further, the company said additional data from its study of the Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in the coming months.

And for those who received a J&J shot, Fauci said clinical data currently do not show a need to administer booster doses.

Fauci added that the decision to boost may depend on local conditions and could be determined on a local level.

"But you should only be making a formal recommendation based on clinical data," Fauci said.

The-CNN-Wire
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1101185

Reported Deaths: 17557
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1441632231
Lake715041238
Allen65802880
Hamilton50322484
St. Joseph48966643
Elkhart39621543
Vanderburgh34317495
Tippecanoe30336273
Johnson27293465
Hendricks25947380
Porter25171386
Madison20749447
Clark19985277
Vigo18838308
LaPorte16924261
Delaware16480297
Howard16432311
Monroe16415219
Kosciusko13976165
Hancock12899185
Bartholomew12729189
Warrick12051190
Wayne11921267
Floyd11901226
Grant11755240
Morgan10276190
Boone9706121
Noble9094122
Henry9040165
Marshall8932147
Dearborn8866100
Dubois8751139
Shelby8101129
Cass8055127
Lawrence7939184
DeKalb7638107
Jackson752693
Huntington7475110
Gibson7019118
Montgomery6930123
Harrison688298
Knox6855115
Steuben655787
Miami6497109
Whitley644860
Putnam635583
Clinton619877
Wabash6080109
Jasper604992
Jefferson5710103
Ripley550292
Adams533781
Daviess5020117
Scott482880
Wells4733101
White470368
Greene463899
Clay459762
Decatur4548110
Jennings441766
Fayette438494
LaGrange421290
Posey404044
Washington385455
Randolph3834107
Fountain368762
Spencer357347
Fulton356872
Starke349073
Owen347577
Sullivan345754
Orange325571
Jay321950
Rush299632
Carroll290238
Franklin287144
Perry285153
Vermillion281158
Tipton248265
Parke247030
Pike245044
Blackford218744
Pulaski206458
Newton179752
Brown174050
Crawford168129
Benton163917
Martin151719
Switzerland145612
Warren132316
Union118316
Ohio91813
Unassigned0587

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1690217

Reported Deaths: 26587
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1772171827
Cuyahoga1648472640
Hamilton1125391528
Montgomery796451395
Summit705111199
Lucas620241020
Butler56096805
Stark527941171
Lorain41276642
Warren35509412
Mahoning35270771
Lake31622495
Clermont30804363
Delaware26791182
Trumbull26782616
Licking26297336
Medina25419351
Fairfield24256287
Greene24097372
Clark21748387
Portage20807281
Richland20686340
Wood19745246
Allen18638320
Miami17074348
Columbiana16571332
Muskingum16483206
Wayne15482306
Tuscarawas14158360
Marion13116194
Erie12479198
Ashtabula12417232
Scioto12288184
Pickaway12114153
Ross11526225
Hancock11321173
Geauga10726175
Lawrence10531172
Belmont10304234
Huron9633158
Jefferson9504227
Union944075
Sandusky9106166
Seneca8752157
Knox8663170
Washington8632158
Athens828996
Darke8288180
Ashland7873149
Auglaize7794117
Shelby7369133
Defiance7243115
Crawford7129150
Brown7072115
Fulton7058112
Logan6899108
Guernsey684284
Mercer683998
Highland6659119
Madison643889
Clinton6422106
Williams635899
Preble6194140
Putnam6126120
Jackson574096
Champaign570687
Perry561179
Coshocton5576104
Ottawa555499
Morrow509364
Fayette485370
Hardin480699
Gallia465478
Pike460176
Van Wert458993
Adams4531109
Henry426978
Hocking403093
Holmes3947140
Wyandot369373
Carroll354478
Paulding320551
Meigs303459
Monroe233661
Noble218047
Morgan212138
Harrison206953
Vinton184337
Unassigned06
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 40°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 41°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 41°
Decatur
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 40°
Van Wert
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 42°
The warming trend is expected to continue through Thursday, before cooler air returns to the Midwest for the weekend.
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