U.S. averaging more than 100,000 new COVID-19 infections daily

The United States hit 100,000 new confirmed daily COVID-19 infections on Saturday, a milepost last hit during the pre-vaccine winter virus surge, AP reports.

The big picture: Health officials worry that the new average infection rate, which is largely driven by the highly contagious delta variant, could rise if more Americans do not take the vaccine.

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50% of eligible adults are fully vaccinated and more than 70% have received at least one dose, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: Average daily cases peaked at about 250,000 in early January, per AP.

Cases started to bottom out this summer, and by June the average daily case rate was about 11,000 per day. Six weeks later, that number has soared to about 107,143, per AP.

Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising, but rates remain lower than the peaks that the country experienced earlier this year before vaccines were widely available, per AP.

In the South, which has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped 50% to a daily average of 17,600 over the last week from 11,600 the previous week, per AP.

Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky account for 41% of the nation’s new hospitalizations.

Go deeper: Coronavirus dashboard

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