The United States has reached a six-month high for new COVID-19 cases.
Reuters news agency reports that more than 100,000 new infections were recorded on Wednesday.
Information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, shows that the seven-day average of new cases is near 90,000. That number represents a sharp increase in less than one month. The seven-day average provides the clearest picture of rising cases. Some states report infections one or two times a week.
Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday that in the coming weeks, cases could increase to 200,000 each day. Experts blame the Delta variant of the coronavirus for the rise in infections.
Fauci told McClatchy, a Washington-based news agency, that if another variant appears that is equally infectious but more severe, "then we could really be in trouble." He said, "People who are not getting vaccinated mistakenly think it's only about them. But it isn't. It's about everybody else, also."
The CDC has found that 83 percent of all new cases reported in the United States are the Delta variant. The version of the virus was first found in India.
Vaccination percentages are not the same across the U.S. A high of 76 percent of people in Vermont have received at least one of two needed injections. The lowest percentage is about 40 percent in Mississippi.
Officials with the administration of President Joe Biden said unvaccinated people represent nearly 97 precent of severe cases.
The administration's health officials said the number of deaths has increased sharply over the past week. They report an average of 377 deaths per day.
Southern states have some of the nation's lowest vaccination numbers. They are reporting the most COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Reuters says Florida, Texas and Louisiana were reporting the highest total number of new cases over the last week. And hospitals in Florida and Louisiana are having high numbers of COVID patients occupying hospital beds.
Biden on Tuesday urged Republican leaders in Florida and Texas to follow public health guidelines on the pandemic or "get out of the way." Those two states have around a third of all new U.S. COVID-19 cases.
New York City will require proof of vaccination at restaurants, gyms and other businesses to try and stop the spread of the virus. City officials said around 60 percent of all New Yorkers have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. Some areas, mainly poor communities, have much lower vaccination numbers.
Some private companies are requiring vaccines for employees and customers.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to give full approval for the Pfizer COVID vaccine by early September. This could push more Americans to get vaccinated by reducing their fears about the safety of the shot.
Currently, all available vaccines in the United States are approved for emergency use only.
I'm Gregory Stachel.